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Sophomores Abroad 










Copyright, 1935, by 
D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc. 

All rights reserved. This book, or parts 
thereof, must not be reproduced in any 
form without permission of the publisher. 




page i 


page 43 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 


Nearly forty years ago (dear me, how it does 
fugit!), at the instigation of two eccentric, in- 
teresting and, in a minor fashion, important 
young Boston publishers named Copeland and 
Day, I wrote a book of college stories called 
Harvard Episodes. In the literary midst of that 
now distant period those two were an extraor- 
dinary pair, and I enjoy recalling as well as 
possessing some of their beautiful and notable 
productions. Copeland, an Aubrey-Beardsley- 
drawing sort of little creature who as a reader 
on The Youth's Companion was even more 
grotesquely misplaced than I was in the same 
asinine capacity (Ellery Sedgwick, at an ad- 
joining desk, also was among those present. 
Ellery, however, has since exemplified his dis- 
tinguished family's incorrigible trait of "mak- 
ing good' ')— Copeland, like an engaging bit of 
medieval tapestry just grew paler and paler 



and then, one evening, delicately demised. 
Day, on the other hand, who incidentally, 
or perhaps primarily, was a photographer 
far in advance of his time, betook himself 
to London where he proceeded to shake the 
Bond Street world to its artistic foundations 
by holding an exhibition of photographs 
he had made of himself in the dramatic and 
affecting role of Jesus Christ. Even with his 
clothes on he had always amazingly looked 
the part. Meanwhile, back in Boston, we were 
more or less reliably— and superfluously— in- 
formed that the exhibition was something 
with which the dear Queen was quite unable 
to find herself entirely in sympathy. Harvard 
Episodes, too, especially throughout the 
American academic world, had its moderate 
succes de scandale, and its reception by the 
press in general and Old Grad in particu- 
lar was, to me, a valuably maturing experi- 

It was Honore de Balzac, I believe, who 
somewhere remarked that "a man's mother is 
never a woman," and on the publication of 



my precocious volume I was almost immedi- 
ately to learn that this sagacious comment ap- 
plies with almost equal validity not only to 
the mother of a man's body but to the "mother 
of his soul." Most men, whether or not they 
may with truth be described as "nice" men, 
have in regard to their mothers, a touching 
belief in the possibilities of the immaculate 
conception and the virgin birth. In some hal- 
lowed fashion this appears to be, among males, 
an all but universal, totally unconscious 
"article of faith," which invests with consid- 
erable soundness the definition of the school- 
boy who wrote on his examination paper, 
"Faith is believing in something you know 
ain't true." For men rarely think of the per- 
sons who brought them into the world as 
merely so many women or, if as sometimes 
reluctantly happens, they uncontrollably do, 
the subject is one that few in any walk of life 
have ever heard discussed. Quite simply, 
while a man may (and often with reason) de- 
test his mother, he usually shrinks, especially 
when he is no longer with her, from allow- 



ing himself to be in the least realistic about 

As regarded Alma Mater, Harvard Epi- 
sodes was the first book of stories about Ameri- 
can undergraduates that did scarcely any 
shrinking either thematically or verbally and, 
in a perfectly decorous fashion of course, 
there was hell to pay at once. A goodly number 
of Harvard's loyal sons, most of whom I re- 
spected (if not intellectually) and some of 
whom I even admired, reviewed the volume 
and wrote serious, well-expressed letters about 
it to newspapers— communications that even 
at the time struck me as being, for the most 
part, curiously wistful combinations of sor- 
row and anger. Their writers could not very 
well say that the book was untrue because as 
far as the stories went — to the limited extent 
to which they went at all — they undeniably 
and no doubt regrettably were true, and a 
reperusal, after nearly half a century, of some 
of these faintly depressing protests seems to 
leave a general impression that while Veritas 
was an acceptable and decorative word on a 



college coat of arms, it had no place whatever 
on the pages of college fiction. Up to the time 
of the appearance of Harvard Episodes, col- 
lege fiction had long been a pleasantly, often 
indeed a charmingly, conventional, standard- 
ized product whose chief ingredients were 
athletics, young love and what the Boston 
papers were accustomed to describe as "Col- 
lege Boys' Pranks." As I knew nothing what- 
ever of athletics or young love and as there 
seemed to be no end of other things to write 
about, I did not bother about them, and I feel 
sure my point of view must have been rather 
strongly focussed by the casual remark of a 
hard-boiled classmate. "I don't suppose," he 
once declared at the breakfast table, "that 
American newspapers will ever get over re- 
ferring to 'College Boys' Pranks,' when what 
they really mean is 'Strong Men Maddened by 
Drink'!" Many of the book's critics astutely 
predicted that the young author would even- 
tually become older than he happened to be 
in the year 1897 — a prophecy that in spite of 
all the customary insuperable obstacles, he 



has dreadfully fulfilled. The little busy bee 
that long since had taken up its permanent 
residence in Theodore Roosevelt's bonnet, 
deemed it inadvisable for its owner to rush 
into print about the thing; all roads leading 
to the White House make a wide and discreet 
detour around Harvard and the Porcellian 
Club. But Mr. Roosevelt, at that time As- 
sistant Secretary of the Navy, did dash off six 
characteristically ' 'strenuous" pages to my half 
sister, copies of which are at the moment 
spread out before me— a letter of much reveal- 
ing interest; blunt, honest, appreciative, scru- 
pulously fair, remarkably well written. In oc- 
casional periods of apostasy it still has the 
power to make me realize that the umpty- 
steenth President of the United States before, 
during and after, distinctly had his moments. 
Here, I beg to quote only two sentences, and 
those chiefly because of my sister's diverting 
marginal comment on them. "I do not agree," 
detonated Mr. Roosevelt, ''with Charley's 
violent animosity to some of the boarding 
schools. I have seen much of Groton boys, of 



whom my own offspring will ultimately form 
four." "Why only four?" inquires my sister 
in her footnote. "There is yet time and there 
may be eight." 

Now, nobody more than I do, realizes the 
intrinsic unimportance of the little personal 
recollections I am permitting myself to in- 
dulge in, but on casting a backward glance 
over thirty-seven years, they assume, in rela- 
tion to literary — or do I mean scribbling? — 
America, a kind of arresting significance. In- 
credible as it may now seem, most editors in 
these United States thirty-seven years ago still 
held certain topics sacred. Colleges and a "col- 
lege education" were sacred. Possessors of 
great wealth, however acquired, were sacred, 
although it is true that when one of them died 
in 1892, New York newsboys called attention 
to the fact by screaming on street corners, "He 
robbed the poor, he robbed the rich, and now 
he's dead, the son of a bitch." Religion was 
still sacred and, above all, Youth was sacred. 
It fell in love, of course, but rarely in the pages 
of magazines did it display the slightest in- 



clination to get drunk and fornicate unless it 
happened to be of the classically reprehensible 
type— the vile seducer, the horrible example. 
Inebriety and its customary concomitant were 
not only denied the hospitality of our "best 
magazines," they were editorially "viewed 
with alarm," an alarm that sprang not at all 
from the facts themselves, but from the now 
outmoded policy of regarding the American 
home as too perfect and enduring an institu- 
tion for the admission of anything so subver- 
sive as drink and unlicensed sex. The editor 
of a well-known, since extinct weekly maga- 
zine, to which I later on occasionally con- 
tributed, told me with fatuous elation that the 
most precious tribute of his career had been 
paid him by the headmistress of the eastern 
school to which he had sent his fifteen-year-old 
daughter. His pages, she had declared to him 
in a letter, were the only printed matter she 
ever felt safe in allowing her girls to peruse 
before she had carefully inspected it herself. 
And it was at about this time that someone, 
whose name I forget, wrote: "British fiction 



is intended primarily for women and children. 
American fiction is written for eunuchs." 
This, while smart and pleasing news to per- 
sons whose manuscripts were constantly re- 
fused, was not strictly true, for publishers of 
books, even at their most prudent, had always 
been considerably more receptive and intrepid 
than the editors of magazines, and subject- 
matter as well as its not too heavily veiled 
treatment often found between boards a 
haven they never could have reached between 
paper. One was constantly entertained by 
those who apparently "knew" with tales of 
the acrimonious jibes at the editors of maga- 
zines by Kipling, Du Maurier, George Moore 
and even the seemingly impeccable Henry 
James. A Kipling youth, fresh from the play- 
ing fields of Eton and the parade grounds of 
Sandhurst, while leading a forlorn hope in 
Afghanistan or some such Kiplingesque lo- 
cality, was not allowed to display his non- 
chalance, his contempt of danger and immi- 
nent death, by halting his troops and pausing 
deliberately to light a cigarette. The editor 



disapproved of cigarettes although he smoked 
them himself and could not quite tolerate the 
idea of an officer's stimulating the morale of 
his men by indulging in so degenerate a prac- 
tice. The editors of Harper's, so we were told, 
had had a hectic time of it in their endeavors 
to keep the delectable Trilby both a fascinat- 
ing and plausible toast of the Boule Miche and 
an acceptable monthly guest in the sitting- 
rooms of Main Street. 

Yet, temperamentally bourgeois and Vic- 
torian as I always resignedly and, for the most 
part, even contentedly have been, I was some- 
how able to appreciate the really fantastic re- 
sults of the national editorial policy. Briefly, 
it amounted to something like this: Every now 
and then somebody would write a book— usu- 
ally a first book— that for a few minutes would 
cause the public, or at least a more or less con- 
sequential segment of the public, to stop, look 
and listen, and almost immediately every im- 
portant magazine in the country would flat- 
teringly attempt to enroll the author among 
its contributors. With his first submitted 


manuscript, however, the poor boob would 
discover that most of the qualities, the points 
of view, the verbal tricks which in the first 
place had given him some slight distinction, 
were editorially inadmissible. Purely on the 
strength of having done a little something or 
other, he was asked to do something quite dif- 
ferent in which, except for financial reasons, 
he was not especially interested. This is an 
incomplete and inadequate statement of the 
matter but essentially it is a true one. Writers 
whose books had caused a ripple or so were 
desirable contributors, but in order to qualify 
as such they above all had to abandon the per- 
sonal pleasure — the literary importance — of 
rippling, and with the young priggery of 
which I had a full share, I used to consider all 
this on the part of both editor and writer "in- 
tellectually dishonest." Strictly speaking it 
was and still is; but just as many of the re- 
viewers of Harvard Episodes had predicted, its 
young author has grown much, much older 
than he was in 1 897 and a lot of odd, even mys- 
terious things have happened to him. He, for 


example, has grown to believe that in regard 
to most excursions into so-called literature 
(not all, by any means, but most) losing one's 
fine early scruples is of far less importance 
than losing one's fine, early head of hair. Un- 
compromising intellectual honesty, paradoxi- 
cally, is both the world's supreme, most highly 
taxed luxury, and about the most uncomfort- 
able attribute a human being can possess. 
Since the beginning of recorded time but few 
in any generation have genuinely possessed 
it and among these few only an isolated martyr 
here and there has had the effrontery to 
proclaim it— the fortitude to maintain it. 
Often those whose endowment it is have been 
thoroughly obnoxious— in the home, among 
friends (if any), in public life, in literature and 
in history. Yet, among God's multiform and 
ingenious creatures in the grand, agonizingly 
unhurried progression, one reluctantly as- 
sumes that they are of far greater importance 
than anybody else. Editors, naturally, have 
never cared much for them— editors have 
never much cared for anyone more weighty 


than the mental and cultural traffic of the 
moment would comfortably bear. Editors 
were not in the habit of conforming to writers. 
Writers were expected to conform to editors, 
which after a few pleasant, friendly, tactful 
letters they usually did. Frankly, even brutally 
speaking, I do not believe that in the long run 
it has made any particular difference. 

This discernment (if such it be) is not, I 
trust, attributable to that lamentable afflic- 
tion of the aged known as mellowness. In- 
deed, if I had what, during the Great War, 
the Y.M.CjV. questionnaires referred to as 
"prayer habits" ("What are your prayer hab- 
its?" they loathesomely demanded), I should 
each night of my life lay me down to sleep and 
pray the Lord to keep me from ever becoming 
mellow. No, rather is it the result of a spirited 
defense made many years ago by that brilliant 
and mordacious little old gentleman, the late 
Adams Sherman Hill (yes, he wrote the Rheto- 
ric), against the impassioned attack of one of 
his pupils— deeply hurt and highly incensed 
by his unique method of imparting the com- 



plicated secrets of English prose composition. 
I cannot recall, and I doubt if anybody else 
can, ever having heard Mr. Hill bestow a sin- 
gle word of praise on any piece of written 
work submitted by the members of his classes 
to his twinkling, restless, all-seeing little eyes, 
but it would be impossible to forget some of 
the vitriolic phrases and sentences with which 
he used to sear the paper our efforts were 
written on as well as our ardent young souls. 
On this occasion he had surpassed himself — 
broken his own record for sarcasm, for pitiless 
dissection, for the infinitely clever malice of a 
tired and bored old scholar who had long 
taken it for granted that his disciples at all 
times were unavoidably at his mercy and 
would never for an instant entertain the pos- 
sibility of ' 'answering back." In this particu- 
lar senior class only twenty, chosen by Mr. Hill 
himself, were permitted to enroll and to nine- 
teen of us it was an exquisitely painful ex- 
perience when the boy who had just been 
flayed, quartered and boiled in oil, jumped to 
his feet and with the hot tears of lacerated 



vanity and uncontrolled anger glistening on 
his pale cheeks, told Mr. Hill exactly what he 
thought of him. What he thought was un- 
deniably true and after patiently listening 
to the passionate and moving indictment, 
Mr. Hill did not by a single word attempt to 
deny it. Instead, he blandly and courteously 
agreed with it and while, after so many years, 
I cannot quote the old gentleman's well 
chosen words, I very well remember the pur- 
port of them and feel sure that of the other 
nineteen members of the class those who are 
still alive can at times also remember it. 
Mr. Hill spoke at some length and what he 
made clear was simply this: He did not con- 
sider it any part of his academic function 
either to encourage or discourage young men 
whose ambition it was to become writers. In 
that aspect of the matter he took no interest 
whatever. He was there for the purpose of call- 
ing attention to linguistic errors, rhetorical 
indiscretions, and not to applaud what his 
pupils or anyone else considered excellences. 
Those matters, he felt, always took care of 



themselves. He did not believe that any hu- 
man being could teach any other human being 
how to write; about the most anybody could 
do was to warn the young how not to write. 
Personally, he considered that the whole 
world was suffering from an excess of people 
who had nothing whatever to say and who, 
with the connivance of that deplorable inven- 
tion, the printing press, undertook, inces- 
santly, to say it. While, he declared, he never 
actually discouraged his pupils from trying to 
become writers, he could not but feel that if 
from attending his class they did become dis- 
couraged, it was all for the best. Young men 
whose belief in themselves and their abilities 
was shallow and undetermined to the extent of 
being dissuaded by anything he had to say to 
them really had no business to try to be writers 
at all. They had enrolled in the class under a 

Never before or since have I encountered 

such a perfectly terrible and such a valuable 

and delightful old man. In traversing the vale 

he, for me, has been and always will be one of 



the highest peaks, and across the years I hark 
back to him now, because I have come to be- 
lieve that what he said of his own influence 
on his youthful aspirants to literary success 
may with equal fairness be said, in general, of 
the supposedly nefarious influence of editors. 
"So-and-so was wonderfully promising. His 
first book— oh, yes, here and there a bit crude, 
no doubt— had in it the elements of the 'real 
thing.' He might have 'gone far,' that boy. But 
like so many others, he has 'bowed to the idols 
of the tribe.' Too bad, too bad." Thirty- 
seven years ago one heard a lot of that sort 
of thing. For a brief period (and may God 
have mercy on my soul) I actually liked to be- 
lieve it to be true of myself. Well, the years— 
or something — have brought counsel. It was 
not true of myself. It isn't true of anyone. 
Pish, tush and fiddlesticks. Nowadays, of 
course, I never really exclaim pish, tush and 
fiddlesticks because, merely to avoid discom- 
fort, I have become a poisonously tactful old 
thing and am at all times ready to agree that 
if our unquestionably brilliant writers of fic- 



tion had stuffed cotton in their ears and be- 
come deaf to the siren song that unceasingly 
floats out over the land from the editorial 
fastnesses, we long since would have become 
a population of Dostoevskis, Tolstoys, Bal- 
zacs, George Eliots, Victor Hugos, George 
Sands and other engrossing ponderosities. But 
pish, tush and fiddlesticks. What once upon a 
time sounded flattering, nowadays sounds 
merely flatulent. The great are great because 
they cannot help being great and because ab- 
solutely nobody has it in his power to dissuade 
them or seduce them from their greatness. An 
artist in any medium who, except momen- 
tarily, can be either dissuaded or seduced, may 
be many valuable and delightful things, but 
he is not great— not that any individual can, 
with exactitude, declare what greatness is. It 
appears to be an attribute accorded here and 
there by a sort of collective intuition. Great- 
ness manque. No, no, Dearie, in no walk of 
life is greatness ever manque. That is one of 
a few things that just cannot happen. (I have 
always reveled in making statements of this 


kind. Now and then, for whole minutes at a 
time, they sound to me as if they actually 
meant something.) 

By far the most insidiously seductive Lore- 
lei of them all was, and still is, perched on a 
rock known as the Curtis Publishing Com- 
pany overlooking the human tide that ebbs 
and flows along Independence Square in Phila- 
delphia. For, as far as one is permitted to find 
out, almost no one in the whole world has been 
able to resist the golden voice of Mr. George 
Horace Lorimer. But in responding to it has 
anyone ever dashed out his artistic brains — 
suffered irreparable literary damage? Not for 
an instant do I believe so. It is true that in the 
beginning at least, one was required to write 
somewhat differently for Mr. Lorimer, but 
one was also required to write just about as 
well as, at the moment, one knew how to — al- 
though one often derived a kind of morbid 
satisfaction from believing that one wasn't 
doing so. Judging from the phenomenal popu- 
larity of the Saturday Evening Post, the secret 
of successful editing would seem to consist of 



planting a pair of supersensitive fingers on the 
public pulse and keeping, always, about half 
a throb behind its normal beat. As long, for 
instance, as "Captains of Industry and Fi- 
nance" who had become fabulously rich were 
idolized by the young and enviously vener- 
ated by the old, their personal reminiscences, 
beginning "Honesty and industry must ever 
be the watchwords of him who would achieve 
wealth," were sure-fire, and sure-fire they re- 
mained until the public began to show restive 
signs of being convinced that anyone with 
more than a million dollars had started to 
amass them at the age of fourteen by stealing 
the pennies offen his dead grandmother's eyes. 
Thereafter, these chaste memoirs became al- 
most suddenly conspicuous by their complete 

Colleges, and the universal desirability of a 
"college education," also had their magazine 
innings and, doubtless, would still be having 
them if it had not at length dawned on a lot 
of those meddlesome psychologists, who con- 
tinually snoop into and spoil everything, that 


a vast number of intelligent and admirable 
young persons of both sexes always have been 
and always will be in an academic sense " in- 
educable.' ' It would have saved them no end 
of bother and experimentation if they had 
ever chanced to run across and take to heart 
the French proverb that declares: "On pent 
etre fort instruit sans avoir d' education." In 
this country, at least, it took them a long time 
to grasp the significance of the old saw but 
when finally they did and let it be known, col- 
leges and ever more colleges ceased to be the 
panacea for the ills to which humanity is heir. 
For years now, in our most influential peri- 
odicals, what used to be called "a college 
education" has been undergoing a ruthless 
debunkment and the end is not yet. In 1 897, 
however, there were practically no unbeliev- 
ers and but few agnostics, and from time to 
time the Post extensively went in for colleges, 
college education and college fiction. On the 
strength of Harvard Episodes having reared 
its ugly head, Mr. Lorelei asked me to con- 
tribute to his rapidly dilating experiment 


which, after reading half a dozen or more 
numbers of it from cover to cover, I straight- 
way did. But even without editorial sugges- 
tion or coaching, it was plain from the first 
that Mr. Lorimer did not desire stories about 
Harvard undergraduates even vaguely remi- 
niscent of the stories that had induced him to 
ask me to become one of his contributors. Not 
that he objected to veracity; it would be un- 
fair to say so. In fact, he seemed, but within 
strict limits and only up to a certain point, to 
prefer veracity. He reminded me, indeed, of 
a young friend of mine whom, in a trip around 
the world, I had hunted up in Yokohama. For 
a year or more his had been the agreeably 
wanton existence of a Lieutenant Pinkerton 
and when he came to see me off on my voyage 
to San Francisco his parting words, through a 
megaphone on the deck of the tender, were, 
"Tell my dear old Mother that you saw me, 
but do not tell her all." Needless to say I didn't 
and likewise, needless to say, my many con- 
tributions to the Post contained nothing over 
which the dear old mothers, the sisters and the 



cousins and the aunts of those days could raise 
an unplucked brow. 

A capricious memory is often a nuisance 
but it has its compensations. For the short 
stories I, so many years ago, contributed to 
the Post, cause me no embarrassment. Since 
their appearance I have not again seen them, 
have no means of doing so even if I wished 
to, and have entirely forgotten what any of 
them were about. Without doubt they were 
acceptable to the readers for whom they were 
intended or the astute editor would not have 
paid for them and printed them, but except 
for the fact that they must have been relent- 
lessly pure and pleasant, all my memory of 
them has faded beyond recognition. Pure and 
pleasant they certainly must have been, other- 
wise Mr. Lorimer would never have invited 
me to undertake a serial for the Post which he 
himself entitled The Diary of a Freshman. 
(He also asked me to write another serial 
based on the social clamberings of an opulent 
and uncouth senatorial family in Washington, 
and when I refused to do this he engaged the 



services of that period's leading fiction factory 
who at once proceeded to grind out the most 
lamentable volume of his amazing career.) 

For several reasons The Diary of a Fresh- 
man was now and then an almost agreeable 
task— not wholly agreeable, because the obli- 
gation to write anything is never wholly agree- 
able to anyone. I have yet to know a profes- 
sional writer who, when he sits down to 
write, does not immediately begin to think of 
three or four other things he would much 
rather be doing. But there was a certain satis- 
faction in realizing that in fulfilling the re- 
quirements of the Post I was also, incidentally, 
removing the bad taste I originally had left in 
the academic mouth. It was a kind of amende 
honorable. Persons in high authority wrote to 
tell me that I was "really sound at heart/' and 
an Episcopalian weekly that kept on coming 
to my grandmother for nine years after her 
death although no one ever thought of paying 
for it, declared that I was "as fragrant as a 
sprig of old lavender." Gradually, too, I found 
myself becoming foolishly fond of the two 



boys. They seemed to me then and still seem 
to me to be infinitely more clever, compan- 
ionable and generally attractive than fresh- 
men have a right to be or, in person, ever are; 
which, I suppose, merely means that, in a 
way, I had become that most unintelligent 
form of animal life — a young parent. For I saw 
Tommy and Berri through the lenses of love 
and, as a great many of the ever-growing num- 
ber of Post readers wrote to tell me that they 
also did, the temptation to see them in any 
other way, even if it had been allowed, be- 
came steadily less insistent. They were, I felt, 
charming youths and I shrank from the idea 
of their disappointing me or anybody else. 
Once when on the verge of allowing them to 
do so because I, for the moment, was unable 
to invent anything else for them to do, I re- 
ceived a letter from a boy of seventeen and 
instantly thought better of it— decided not to. 
Perhaps the most endearing tribute bestowed 
upon the tale was in a letter from a boy of 
fifteen who referred to it as The Dairy of a 
Frenchman. He, later on, became a Rhodes 



Scholar— in itself a quaint footnote to educa- 
tion. In short, I told the dear old mother that 
I saw him but I did not tell her all. Today, 
however, in the highly improbable event of 
my once more being invited to add a luster or 
so to Benjamin Franklin's diadem, I should 
tell all and then some. The public pulse has 
done quite a lot of throbbing since the 1890's 
and Mr. Lorimer's fingers are still, as ever, 
supersensitive. Although once, at his request, 
I performed the divine miracle (in reverse) 
of changing "long, cold highballs" into "long, 
cold lemonades," I now unhesitatingly and 
with a buoyant heart, should indulge for his 
benefit (and mine) in pretty nearly anything 
—from dipsomania to murder, with, here and 
there, a little light incest. "Time marches on." 
Several of Mr. Lorimer's diplomatic and 
gratifying communications seem to have es- 
caped destruction and from one of them in 
which he says, "I am afraid that we are going 
to have a howl of disappointment when the 
Diary ends," I learn (having forgotten the 
fact) that he had expected me to "placate old 


subscriber" as he expressed it, with The Diary 
of a Professor. In the meantime I had decided 
to spend the summer in France and must have 
told him that it would be impossible for me 
to develop much interest in the activities and 
reflections of a Harvard pedagogue while I 
myself would be breathing so alien an air, 
for resourceful genius that he is, he then sug- 
gested my taking the two freshmen (sopho- 
mores by that time) abroad with me and giving 
them, in the pages of the Post, a European 
vacation. To England and France, therefore, 
in my head, my heart and my steamer-trunk, 
they accompanied me and, on renewing their 
acquaintance not long ago, after a complete 
estrangement of thirty-four years, I feel sure 
that a good time was had by all. Furthermore, 
they generously paid for my trip with a little 
something left over. 

It was my favorite American author, Ed- 
mund Pearson, who once more brought us 
together and, although he does not know it, 
on him rests the dire responsibility for the 
final and more permanent form that Sopho- 


mores Abroad has at length achieved. For 
some reason or other he had saved the num- 
bers of the Post in which it had appeared (I 
had not saved even the manuscript) and had 
shown them to the late Rutger Jewett, for so 
many years the editorial chief of D. Appleton 
and Company, who regarded the instalments 
(they scarcely constitute a story) as a sort of 
droll little American antique and who 
showed them to me. 

Nearly everyone who has written at all and 
who has lived long enough must, at one time 
or another, have experienced the indescrib- 
ably strange sensation of reading something he 
knows is his own but which almost, if not 
quite, might have been written by someone 
of whom he had never heard. In the case of 
Sophomores Abroad just that happened to me 
and I confess, I am not especially keen about 
this dual personality business. Unquestion- 
ably I wrote the thing but also, unques- 
tionably, it is the performance of someone 
with whom I am no longer on intimate terms. 
Occasionally to recall the past can be a pleas- 


ing avocation. Suddenly, out of a clear con- 
temporary sky, to be confronted by the past is 
rather disturbing. It is disturbing, for in- 
stance, to realize that the commonplaces of 
yesterday are already so archaic. In glancing 
through chapter one it occurs to me that now- 
adays, even in Boston, no one ever nearly 
misses his ship because a cab-horse has fallen 
down in a narrow street. In France a few years 
ago, I heard an intelligent child of thirteen 
pleading with her bored parents to give her 
the exciting experience of a drive in a horse- 
drawn vehicle. She had never been in one. 
Then too, while in 1 90 1 , transatlantic vessels 
sailing from New York had begun to experi- 
ence growing pains and were rapidly develop- 
ing into the five- and six-day night clubs they 
have since become, a Boston Cunarder still 
bore considerable resemblance to one's pre- 
conceived idea of a ship. Not that they by any 
means were as distressingly nautical as was 
the first ship on which, at the age of eight, I 
set sail in the year 1881. That, in passing, I 
beg to record, was the good ship Gallia— the 



Cunard Line's "Ocean Greyhound" — which 
astounded the world by always crossing from 
New York to Liverpool in from ten to fifteen 
days. The Gallia naturally was, for the most 
part, propelled by steam but, when the wind 
was propitious, it even then hoisted a thrill- 
ing sail or two and its course was steered by a 
huge wooden wheel in charge of a beautiful 
and benign sailor whom my brother (aged 
four at the time) and I still, in retrospect, 
adore. The long tables of the saloon were il- 
luminated, I recall, by overhanging lamps 
that swayed and stank, but the staterooms 
were lighted only by fat candles in glass boxes 
let into the partition. Until half-past nine or 
ten, when it was assumed that everybody 
would be in bed and asleep, their little gleams 
were merely an accentuated gloom and at ten, 
unless one had a certificate from the ship's 
doctor, they were extinguished. For from ten 
to fifteen days nearly everyone was continu- 
ously seasick— not so much from the ship's mo- 
tion as from the inescapable stench of the hot, 
rancid oil of the engine-room and the nauseat- 


ing exhalations of the rubber with which the 
stairs were covered, and at all hours of the day 
a walk on deck was a careful circumvention of 
the frequent puddles of— but no, I am not 
feeling especially robust this evening as it is; 
I shan't go into that. Yet, even so, I shall ever 
remember the Gallia with both affection and 
with what my left-wing acquaintances would 
doubtless call bourgeois arrogance, as it was 
on the Gallia that, at the age of eight, I was, 
for the first time, addressed as "Sir." My 
brother and I had been left in our stateroom 
to our own resources, one of which, for in- 
fantile reasons I am no longer able to con- 
jecture, was the stateroom's porcelain pot. 
Just as it slipped from my brother's feeble 
little grasp and smashed on the floor, there 
was a fateful knock immediately followed by 
the entrance of Phillips, our steward. Even 
now Phillips personifies my conception of 
majesty. He had long, flowing, pointed, blue- 
black side whiskers and his grandiose stomach 
glittered with metallic buttons. 

"Phillips, Phillips," I moaned, "my brother 



has broken the pot." To which Phillips con- 
solingly and imperturbably replied, "Oh, 
never mind, sir — there are plenty more in 

Yet even in 1901 the Boston Cunarders 
were not like other Cunarders. In an austere 
fashion they made their passengers comfort- 
able but they did not pamper them. For 
although from the first, Bostonians have ap- 
proved of solid comfort and have had it, gen- 
eration after generation was born, grew up 
and died before, in recent years, they at last 
hauled down the flag and surrendered to what, 
with an all but visible shudder, used to be re- 
garded as ''the New York idea." The Hotel 
Touraine was the beginning of the end; the 
Boston Opera was the inevitable end itself. 
Until the advent of the Touraine there had 
been the Parker House, the Adams House, 
the Tremont House— the mere fact of their 
being called "houses" was a connotation of 
their Victorian solidity and domesticity. The 
Touraine introduced gilding, "period" fur- 
niture, imported waiters, hors d'ceuvres and 


no end of other exotic dishes with unpro- 
nounceable names. It was more than confus- 
ing; it was, just at first, even somewhat lewd. 
Every spring Boston had for long reveled in 
a brief season of the world's most brilliant 
opera, but it was of necessity performed in a 
vast, echoing, hideous barn, redolent of dog 
and poultry shows, known as Mechanics' Hall. 
As the hall was filthy and the weather invari- 
ably vile, the ladies of the audience, who for 
the most part flocked to the place in street 
cars or on foot, had most sensibly originated 
a kind of local opera costume which, from the 
waist up, consisted of something that vaguely 
resembled evening dress and, from the waist 
down, a strong, durable, weather-proof skirt, 
with golf stockings, galoshes or, occasionally, 
rubber boots. Later on, when someone be- 
came desirous of crashing the inhospitable 
portals of the Somerset Club and toward that 
end handsomely subsidized the Boston Opera, 
all this primitive, sensible sort of thing in- 
stantly and magically ceased. 

After 1901 my first-hand knowledge of the 



Boston Cunarder abruptly ends. Until then it 
was, like Boston itself, comfortable, sensible 
and, in contrast to the trashy, rather vulgar 
ideals of a later day, primitive. It is just this, 
I imagine, that led to Berri's remarking on the 
women's "horrible hats." Boston ladies did 
not flaunt their best clothes on the decks and 
in the dining-rooms of steamers. Both at home 
and abroad they had other and more felicitous 
backgrounds against which to display them. 
The promenade deck was not inclosed in plate 
glass; there was always a great deal of damp, 
salt air, soggy spray and, now and then, the 
wind-snapped crest of an inadvertent wave. 
On a Boston Cunarder one's best clothes were 
simply not indicated. And it is this, as well as 
many other things, that makes me realize the 
extent to which the little volume I am glanc- 
ing at, to me at least, disturbingly "dates." 
Nowadays almost any sizeable transatlantic 
steamer is a bewildering fashion show — a pa- 
rade of smart sports clothes by day, evening 
gowns and ermine wraps by night, with floral 
tumors of orchids and gardenias at every hour. 


Bostonians have for long gone down to the 
sea in ships but, in doing so, they never actu- 
ally abandoned Boston. They managed, as the 
inhabitants of no other locality have suc- 
ceeded in doing, in taking the place along 
with them. This, for all time, was impressed 
upon me when, one summer, it was my rare 
and memorable privilege to embark on a ves- 
sel that had already been chosen by Mrs. Julia 
Warde Howe, Miss Sarah Orne Jewett and 
Mrs. Annie T. Fields. A walk around the deck 
before luncheon or dinner with, so to speak, 
the ' 'Battle Hymn of the Republic" on one's 
arm, was nothing less than a royal progress, 
and the courts held, throughout the voyage, 
by Mrs. Fields and Miss Jewett were very 
nearly as impressive. During one of these 
regal promenades, Mrs. Howe paused and 
spoke to a learned professor leaning against 
the rail, in a language I had never heard, at 
which they both laughed merrily. Afterwards, 
in the smoking-room, when I asked him what 
it was all about, he quite casually answered: 
"Oh, she just stopped to make a Greek pun— 



and it was a darned good one." The late, 
always interesting and sometimes brilliant 
Mrs. "Jack" Gardner was not, it seems, 
wholly in sympathy with this rarefied, New 
England atmosphere, for once, on learning 
that there were to be twenty-eight members of 
the Cabot family on board she, at the last 
moment, cancelled her passage. "God has too 
good a chance," she is said to have declared 
by way of explanation. But Mrs. Gardner, it 
should be remembered, was originally trans- 
planted from New York. 

Of late years I have spent much time in 
France but as I live there in a Normandy vil- 
lage that causes the pages of Madame B ovary 
to seem like a work of contemporary fiction 
— the book-of-the-month— the most striking 
changes in the general scene are of a mechani- 
cal nature; changes, for the most part, in the 
methods of transportation. In 1901 there were 
plenty of automobiles but they were still dis- 
tinctly the luxuries of the accursed and awe- 
inspiring rich who, in goggles and helmets, 
blue veils and fantastic motor coats, dashed, 



at frightful miles an hour, from one end of the 
land to the other leaving in their wake a trail 
of mangled dogs, chickens, ducks and geese. 
Today one can arrive at a provincial hotel in 
any kind of a car without, automatically and 
as a matter of course, being grossly over- 
charged. And all day long the airplanes from 
London to Paris, to Ostend, Antwerp, the 
Hague and back again, fly so low over my vil- 
lage that the dogs look up and bark at them. 
The Americanization of certain aspects of 
Paris is amusing but not fundamentally im- 
portant. Even the French can smile at it for, 
in a humorous weekly, one comes across this: 

"There was a riot in the Place Vendome 
this morning." 

"Dear me— what caused it?" 

"Two persons were overheard speaking 

How about the villes d'eau — the Dinards, 
the Deauvilles, the Nices and the Cannes? Is 
it merely because I have come to look upon 
pretty much everything they used to repre- 
sent as insufferably boring that I find it diffi- 


cult to believe they, for anyone, still have the 
kind of allure they once had? A world in 
which grand duchesses consider themselves 
lucky to get a steady job in the lingerie depart- 
ment and in which grand dukes think twice 
before refusing the offer of a headwaitership 
cannot, one somehow feels, make anything 
like the same social gestures it made in the 
1890's. Dinard, as Tommy briefly and super- 
ficially suggests, is very much like the spar- 
kling little seaside resort at which I once, long 
ago, spent two weeks that, at the time, were to 
me not only agreeable but genuinely excit- 
ing. Can such places, in the year 1935, still 
possibly be? The places, no doubt, hang on, 
but aren't the kind of persons who infested 
and made them — the Mrs. Berrisfords, the 
Mrs. de Tabley-Monteagles, the Lady Claude 
Bushels, Higgins the guardsman, Schnupfen- 
quelle-Engleburg and Miss Smith— aren't 
they all, by now, practically extinct? As to this 
I can but yawn, surmise and hope. I am not, 
any more, in a position to know. For of late 
years my social activities, preferably, have 



been almost entirely restricted to a more or 
less regular attendance at funerals— nowadays, 
the only form of social gathering at which ab- 
solutely no one, under any circumstances, is 
ever expected to be either amusing or amused. 

Nevertheless, nevertheless, keenly and per- 
fectly I understand George Moore who, in 
one of his interminable and enchanting reli- 
gious wrangles with his brother the Colonel, 

"I cannot believe myself to be an old man." 

"You're not." 

"I don't know what else to call myself. How 
unreal it all is! For if we look back, we dis- 
cover very few traces of our flight. Our lives 
float away like the clouds." 



I shall never forget the morning we sailed. 
College had been closed for— I think it was 
a little more than a week, but it had seemed 
in some ways a year. I don't mean, now that 
I look back on it from the other side of the 
ocean, that I hadn't liked waiting for the 
family; for desperately hot and desperately 
lonely as Cambridge is in July, there was 
something about it (I can't explain the feel- 
ing to myself even)— there was something 
about it that I did like. Berri says my capacity 
for sentiment is at times positively ghoulish; 
but I think he usually makes a remark of this 
kind after he has been recalling all sorts of 
pleasant dead-and-done-for things himself. 

Of course, the place wasn't altogether de- 
serted; Cambridge never is. Mr. Dalton— my 
adviser— for instance, had stayed on to teach 
at the summer school and we saw a good deal 
of each other. Somehow the fact that the 



doors of the recitation halls were closed and 
locked gave me a different attitude toward 
him. In the first place, he isn't so incredibly 
old; he's just twenty-seven. And whether my 
being a sophomore elevated me to his stand- 
ard, or whether his having finished his work 
for a while brought him down to mine — I 
don't know. But at any rate, after the first 
few days I forgot to a great extent that we 
weren't about the same age. 

The heat was something that toward the 
end of the week became — if I may permit my- 
self the suffering word — actually weird. The 
sun seemed to rise at about three in the 
morning in a sky that got me into the habit 
of falling back on expressions like "steely" 
and "pitiless" in all my good-by letters. I 
found myself growing morbidly impatient 
for the long list of "prostrations" in the news- 
papers, and now and then speculating on the 
curbstone as to the probabilities of my ever 
reaching the opposite side of that molten 
triangle I had once known as the "Square." 
But Dalton's room was big and dim, and had 


an electric fan— a fan that used to go sud- 
denly mad late at night, dance frantically 
across the table, and then, with a terrifying 
noise, commit suicide over the edge. At first 
we attributed this merely to the heat; any- 
thing could have been attributed to the heat 
without a word of protest from anyone. But 
Dal ton after a talk with the janitor was 
forced reluctantly to believe that when the 
lights were turned off in other places his little 
machine simply lost its head from access of 
power; in which respect he declared that it 
resembled no end of other little machines of 
his acquaintance. 

Most of my afternoons I spent in Dalton's 
room. In the evening he would take me to 
dine at the Colonial Club, where we sat after- 
ward drinking long, cold soda lemonades on 
the balcony up among the treetops, or we 
dined on a terrace at a hotel in town. It really 
was very pleasant, now that I look back. We 
were almost always joined by some one who 
was passing through town or staying to get 
off a condition at the summer school— and 


who liked to pretend that he hated it, just as 
we pretended. It couldn't be called a strenu- 
ous week exactly; but when Dalton was mark- 
ing his last few examination books, I read a 
lot and wrote the letters I otherwise shouldn't 
have written. The hardest work I did was 
trying to picture myself packing a trunk and 
wondering where I should ever get the energy 
with which to do it. 

Of course I put off packing until the night 
before we sailed, and then— likewise, of course 
(the "of courses" are mamma's, not mine) — 
I found that various garments I couldn't travel 
without were hermetically sealed for the sum- 
mer in the rooms of my friends. It was easy 
enough to recollect that my winter overcoat 
was on the top floor of Randolph; that my 
dress clothes were at Beck (I had left them 
there after staying all night once with Laurie 
Johnson, and it was only half consoling to re- 
member that I still had the suit Laurie had 
let me wear to breakfast), and that my only 
hat— excepting a straw one— was some place 
in Claverly. I knew where they all were and 



frequently had been on the point of hunting 
them up. When I rounded the point, so to 
speak, it was almost midnight. 

On the whole, I think I prefer to pass 
lightly over the incidents of my last night in 
Cambridge. Waking a succession of janitors 
from sound sleep is an undertaking both ex- 
tremely disagreeable and not, I am inclined 
to believe, altogether unattended by danger. 
Then, after prolonged and debilitating argu- 
ments, to plunge into a black and tropical at- 
mosphere of moth-balls — to grope among foot- 
ball clothes and sweaters, blankets and fuzzy 
woolen winter things . . . The dress clothes 
I was enabled to dig and gasp for from the 
feeling that if I should need them in Europe 
at all— which was perhaps improbable— I 
should need them very badly; the hat I bled 
and died for chiefly because I had heard that 
straw hats in England made one unpleasantly 
conspicuous, and I could see myself landing 
at Liverpool amid the Falstaffian chuckles of 
a whole empire; the coat — well, I may not 
have learned very much by experience, but 



I've learned enough not to meet mamma's in- 
quiring gaze in any temperature without a 
winter overcoat. 

Dalton came over to "talk to me while I 
packed"— which naturally resulted in my say- 
ing: "I have all night, you know — and anyhow, 
it doesn't take me but a few minutes." So when 
I at last began to assort the hopeless hillock of 
things that Mrs. Chester had piled on the 
floor near my yawning trunks, the sky 
through the horse-chestnut trees just outside 
my windows was turning once more to the 
"steely," "pitiless," electric blue I men- 
tioned, and the milk carts were rattling 
through the damp, quiet streets. I had never 
packed for a trip to Europe before, and when 
I found myself confronted at last by the ne- 
cessity of picking out the things I needed for 
the voyage, I began to feel excited. A cold 
little thrill (it was the first time I had felt cold 
in weeks) ran through me, and I don't think it 
ever quite left me until late that afternoon 
when I went into a sort of exhausted trance in 

4 8 


a steamer-chair on deck. Almost everything I 
owned seemed absolutely necessary for the 
voyage, and after stuffing my little steamer- 
trunk to the limit there were enough clothes 
left over on the floor beside it to fill two others 
of the same size. Then I sat down for half 
an hour and wondered if I was going to catch 
the boat. 

Reason came to me, I think, on realizing 
that it would be more or less impossible in 
eight or nine days to use so many things on 
land. I had evidently been allowing for 
shipwreck and protracted sojourns on desert 
islands. After that it was easier— although I 
ended by jamming into the corners all sorts 
of inane things' I never thought of afterward, 
except to wonder why they were there. (Berri, 
who has been to Europe over and over again, 
tells me that he always does this.) When 
Mrs. Chester appeared she held up her hands. 
With most people I've noticed that the hold- 
ing up of hands has become a purely verbal 
convention. With Mrs. Chester, however, the 



act itself is inseparable from an exhibition of 
dismay. I've learned to regard it as the phys- 
ical equivalent of "land sakes!" 

"What-chedoing with all them clothes 
squashed that-a-way into your trunk?" she in- 
quired. "You're not leaving today, are you?" 

I replied that, improbable as it seemed, I 
was going to depart within two hours. 

"Why, you can't," she declared with a note 
of finality. "Your wash aren't here yet." 
Whereupon I had visions of Mrs. Chester in- 
ducing the steamship company to linger until 
Miss Shedd had finished ironing. 

Miss Shedd had to be sent for, and, as she 
lives somewhere in darkest Cambridgeport, 
my trunks were strapped behind the cab and 
the driver was suggesting uneasily that the 
way to the docks on a hot morning was a long 
one before she at length came puffing around 
the corner. I had been restrained from giving 
her up and leaving without my wash only by 
Mrs. Chester, who had run to the next street 
at intervals and exclaimed with an assurance 
that she herself no longer believed in: 


"Well, I will say for Miss Shedd— she'll do 
the best she can." This, I suppose, Miss Shedd 
really did. But when it became evident to me 
that her utmost consisted of two armfuls of 
soggy linen bursting through a melted news- 
paper I was sorry I had waited, particularly as 
the delay enabled Mrs. Chester to "run in," 
as she said, "and jest take a last look 'round" 
—a fatally considerate performance that re- 
sulted in another newspaper bundle contain- 
ing my slippers, a suit of pajamas, a bath wrap- 
per, a wet sponge and a razor strop. (Berri says 
that before long it won't be necessary for peo- 
ple to travel with razor strops as he will have 
left enough of them hanging to the doorknobs 
of hotel bedrooms to supply the demand.) 

In the matter of arriving on time, I am grow- 
ing to believe that Berri and I are pursued by 
a relentless fate. Mamma and papa and Mil- 
dred had reached town the afternoon before, 
and instead of staying all night at the hotel 
with them I was to meet them at the ship. It 
seemed ever so much easier, of course, be- 
cause all I had to do was to embark in Cam- 


bridge on what Berri calls a "deep-sea-going 
barouche" and land, so to speak, in Liverpool. 
Berri was to come up from the country on an 
early train. 

My carriage rolled luxuriously through 
suburban streets and reached a lower bridge 
just as the draw majestically parted for the 
purpose apparently of enabling a dredging ma- 
chine to become inextricably stuck in the 
opening. I had never known before that there 
was a draw and remember indignantly telling 
the driver so— as if the fact of my ignorance 
were one of considerable importance. He was 
a maddening creature — full of the kind of 
hope that achieves nothing but the waste of 
other people's time. It was fully twenty min- 
utes before I could persuade him to turn back 
and try another bridge. This plunged us into 
a part of town I had often heard of but never 
seen, and I peered out of the windows from 
side to side feeling as if I were already abroad; 
for it was the Jewish quarter— a perfect maze 
of squalid canyons teeming and shimmering 
in the cruel sun. I had become absorbed in the 



Hebrew signs and the fact that most of the 
women were hatless and wore quite the wig- 
giest wigs I had ever imagined, when sud- 
denly in the narrowest street of all the cab 

If I were a driver and came to an abrupt 
standstill on the way to a steamer, for which 
I was already late, I'm sure my first thought 
would be to tell the person inside what was 
the matter. But I've noticed that drivers al- 
ways assume that no one in the least cares. 
They just sit on the box until you come to the 
conclusion that the delay is serious and pro- 
ceed to find out for yourself. This I very soon 
did, and found out that a horse, three vehicles 
ahead of us, had fallen down and was blocking 
traffic in both directions as far as the eye could 
reach. My own conveyance was pinched be- 
tween an ice-wagon and one of those flour- 
barrel pyramids fresh from the cooper shop 
that tower to the second story. And nobody 
seemed to care whether we ever moved again 
or not; the heat had simply oozed the life out 
of them. They sat listlessly on their wagons or 



stretched out with their hats over their eyes 
like so many fatalists. For a second I thought 
I should just get into the carriage, pull down 
all the curtains and cry. Then all at once I 
had an inspiring sensation that I suppose is 
common to everybody. You can conceive of 
failing to keep an appointment of almost any 
kind— a dinner, a dance, a funeral, the wed- 
ding of your best friend— your own wedding; 
but when it becomes a question of missing a 
steamer for Europe the mind reels somehow 
and refuses to believe that such a thing could 
possibly be. I don't think that for this par- 
ticular contingency any allowance in the 
human intellect was made. I simply knew that 
—late as it was and hopeless as it was— I was 
going to catch the Astoria. 

I ran along to where the horse was stretched 
across the street, and there, kneeling bare- 
headed in the blazing sun, was Berri— fanning 
the animal's neck with his hat. 

"Good heavens— is it you who's doing all 
this!" I exclaimed. He glanced up at me over 
his shoulder— not at all surprised at my ar- 


rival, although we hadn't seen each other for 
a week. 

"Here— you fan and 111 pour," he re- 
marked, thrusting his hat into my hands and 
picking up a pail of water that some one had 
brought through the crowd. I clapped the hat 
on his head and took him by the arm. 

"It was all my fault/' he declared remorse- 
fully. "Coming up from the seashore I didn't 
realize how hot it was and told the man to 
drive fast." 

"You told him to drive fast because you 
were late then," I answered. "Think what you 
are now." In his passion for animals I actually 
believe that Berri had forgotten all about the 

"Oh, that will be all right," he shrugged. 
"Aunt Josephine knows the Captain." 

"Your Aunt Josephine— is she going?" I 
asked incredulously, for this was the first I'd 
heard of it. 

"Why, yes— she's to have our room," Berri 

"And what, please, are we going to do?" I 



demanded; for I had picked our room with a 
great deal of care and happened to know that 
the Astoria was crowded. 

"Why, you see, at the last moment the dear 
old thing suddenly thought she'd like to go, 
and as it seemed rather pointless for us to take 
different ships I told her to leave it all to me 
and she'd be very comfortable. Well, when I 
tried to make arrangements with the com- 
pany"— (here the fallen horse was pulled over 
to the sidewalk and the compact line of wagons 
began to loosen and proceed; all of which 
would have happened long ago if Berri hadn't 
displayed his S. P. C. A. badge and insisted 
on administering first aid to the injured) — 
"when I tried to make arrangements with the 
company," he continued after we got into 
my coach and moved slowly away, "I couldn't 
—there weren't any to be made; all the rooms 
were taken. So there was really nothing to do 
but tell Aunt Josephine that I had seen to 
everything and then let her have our room. 
That woman's belief in me is pathetic," Berri 
ended fondly. 



"It seems to be almost justified," I suggested 

"You have an attractive lot of luggage, 
haven't you?" he answered, sticking his finger 
through the wet newspaper around my shirts. 
This made me laugh, and after that I forgot 
about not having any place to sleep. 

I didn't forget, though, that it was not only 
past the time at which the Astoria was ad- 
vertised to sail — it was perilously near the mo- 
ment at which she actually would sail, which 
was just half an hour later. Berri, too, was 
worried, I know, for after glancing at his watch 
he didn't mind my imploring the driver to 
go faster — which would have been impossible 
for him to do as we had got out of the crowd 
and were swashing over car tracks and lurch- 
ing around corners on two wheels. 

"A wild night on the good ship Astoria/' 
Berri gasped as we took a flying leap across a 
gutter and our heads thumped together. Then 
we passed under a sort of arch out of the daz- 
zling sunlight, and the horse's hoofs came 
thundering down on the planks of the pier— 


scattering porters and stewards and sailors, 
and enraging people generally. 

Well, I don't think I should care to do it 
again. It involves too much; the consequences 
are too various. In the first place, papa 
wouldn't speak to me all that day and part of 
the next. When a husky quartermaster flung 
Berri and me up the gangplank, we found 
papa and mamma and Mildred and Berri's 
aunt tearfully huddled in the middle of it, 
while one of the ship's officers was sternly 
commanding them to decide instantly either 
to go up or down. To go down meant losing 
the ship, and to go up, of course, meant losing 
me — which mamma flatly refused to do, with- 
out, however, moving in either direction. At 
the critical moment, when the bugle had been 
blown to let people know it was time to go 
ashore if they didn't intend to sail, it had sud- 
denly occurred to mamma that Berrisford was 
no doubt on board and in as fine a frenzy as 
she was; but as she had never seen Berri she 
had to send a steward through the ship calling 
out his name. At the same instant Berri's aunt 



(who had never seen me) was inspired by a 
similar brilliant idea, and she had sent out a 
search-party of her own chanting my name. 
In this way the two families— although they 
hadn't found us— found each other, and had 
become united on the plank, to the intense 
interest of the crowd on the deck and on the 
pier. It was, I admit, an agonizing little situa- 
tion that Berri and I just managed to save. 
The plank was pulled in almost before we had 
left it. I found my way to the promenade deck 
as quickly as possible — wishing to avoid any 
estranging family comments — and as I leaned 
limply over the rail some one among the hun- 
dreds of upturned faces along the edge of the 
pier began to shout at me. The crowd was so 
dense and so far below that for a moment I 
couldn't discover who it was. Then all at once 
my eyes focussed our cab-driver — with out- 
stretched arms— tendering the moving steamer 
my wet, unironed shirts, my bath wrapper, 
my slippers, my razor strop and my sponge. I 
groped for Berri and we fell into each other's 



The interest I took in the voyage seemed to 
amuse Berri exceedingly. To him, of course, 
crossing the Atlantic was an old story, but to 
me it was the latest romance. Just why, it 
would be rather hard to tell, for absolutely 
nothing happened during the entire passage. 

"That's the trouble with it," Berri said one 
morning when we were stretched out on deck 
in the sun, with books in our laps that we never 
quite reached the point of opening. "I get tired 
and restless because nothing ever does hap- 
pen, and I haven't even the resource of wish- 
ing that something would; for that, of course, 
would be infinitely worse." This reminded me 
of mamma and Mildred when they first went 
into their stateroom. 

"Dear me— what a lot of life-preservers," 
mamma had remarked. "Isn't it nice!" 

"Nice," sniffed Mildred, whose nerves had 
not yet recovered their usual calm. "It's nice 
in about the same way it would be nice if rail- 
way companies strung coffins along the roofs 
of their sleeping-cars" — which placed things 
in an entirely different light and agitated 


mamma greatly. She confided to me that she 
would like to try one of the things on to see 
how the strings worked, but she was afraid 
Mildred might come in and discover her. I 
told her that if she liked she could rehearse 
in our room, and I would stand guard at the 
door; but she wouldn't. 

Our room, by the way (Berri hypnotized 
the authorities into giving us one), was in the 
second cabin. Its situation, Berri said, was 
unutterable, although he admitted that under 
the circumstances we were lucky to get a room 
at all. But as I had never been on a big ship 
before I found it very interesting, and saw all 
sorts of sights I probably shouldn't have seen 
if Aunt Josephine hadn't decided to come. For 
the galley was just across and we were almost 
next door to the butcher and the baker. One 
terrible afternoon, when the Astoria was pro- 
ceeding in a series of handsprings with an oc- 
casional dive to the bottom and a gleeful kick 
of her heels at the sky, I braced myself in the 
narrow passage and watched the cooks pre- 
paring dinner. Their apparent unconscious- 


ness that the tables and the things they cooked 
on were most of the time at an angle of forty- 
five degrees, and that they were positively wad- 
ing through broken crockery, was perfectly 
beautiful. I think a ship's galley in rough 
weather must be the noisiest place in the 
world. The whole thing was out of drawing 
like a picture in a bad dream; the uproar and 
unreality of it all gave me a queer, delightful 
feeling of exhilaration. Our room always 
smelt of fresh bread, which is an odor I par- 
ticularly like, although it keeps me in a per- 
petual state of hunger. Whenever I woke up 
in the night I could hear the bakers hauling 
loaves of bread out of their ovens and slam- 
ming the doors. I think they baked night and 
day for a week. 

Then the fact that in the second cabin the 
partitions of the staterooms didn't reach to 
the ceiling was not without a decided human 
interest. I could lie in bed in the morning and 
listen to three separate conversations. In one 
room there were an actor and two clergymen, 
and whenever the actor wished to have the 


apartment all to himself to dress in he would 
simply begin to tell anecdotes of life on the 
variety stage, which, in an incredibly short 
time, had the desired effect. In another room 
there was a family. I never actually saw it, but 
I got to know part of it intimately from hear- 
ing a series of dialogues that ran something 
like this: 

"Mamma, do I like lobster?' ' 

"I'm sure I don't know, Willie; but I 
shouldn't think you would after yesterday." 

"Mamma, if papa shot a whale would the 
ship stop to pick it up?" 

"No, certainly not. Willie, you're driving 
me mad." 

"Mamma, isn't it almost time to see an ice- 

"Willie, if you ask me another question I'll 
get into bed and die." (A pause.) 

"Which bed, mamma?" 

Then there was a roomful of Cockney Eng- 
lishmen, and if I had had any scruples in over- 
hearing their conversation I should have lost 
them on discovering what a fine ear they had 

6 3 


for mine. We had forgotten to write our names 
on the bath list, and as the ship was crowded 
we had to take our baths either very early or 
very late. I preferred mine early, but as this 
left such a long, hungry time before break- 
fast, I rang the bell the second morning out 
and when the steward came said: ''Steward, 
please bring me some coffee and toast." I had 
no idea that my voice was a proud and haughty 
one, but it must be, for immediately afterward 
from the other side of the partition was wafted: 
"Stewardess, send for my mide and tell her 
to pick me out a frock," followed by a burst 
of shrill laughter. 

Speaking of baths, Berri says that having 
to take them on shipboard is, to him, the most 
obnoxious thing in life. 

"I should never think of getting into that 
heavy, sticky sea water if I weren't afraid of 
losing caste with our steward," he declared. 
"He wouldn't consider me respectable if I 
didn't. That's one of the disadvantages of an 
English boat. Now, on French and German 
ships I simply tell the steward that I hate cold 

6 4 


water— that, in fact, I never bathe at all— and 
we're in perfect sympathy from the first. An 
Anglo-Saxon's attitude toward a bath is always 
annoying to me, anyhow. He's so fearful lest 
you won't realize that he's had one. 'Oh, I 
say — how did you enjoy your tub this morn- 
ing?' No less than three Englishmen have said 
that to me already. An American, of course, 
leads up to the subject with infinitely more 
subtlety. I suppose you've noticed the number 
of Americans on board who can't get through 
a first conversation without dazzling you by 
the fact that they know a bathtub when they 
see one. Why, I can feel that cold bath coming 
sometimes ten minutes before it is actually 
alluded to." 

But to go back— although Berri liked to tell 
me that a voyage of eight days is just the wrong 
length— that it enables you to find out only 
how plain and stupid people are, without dis- 
covering the sterling qualities many of them 
undoubtedly possess— I confess I enjoyed every 
minute of it, from early in the morning when 
I splashed into the blue water in the white 

6 5 


porcelain tub (there— I've called attention to 
it, as Berri says everybody does!) until late 
at night when I took a turn around the wet, 
gusty deck after everybody had gone below 
and the barefooted sailors were stacking 
chairs and getting ready to scrub. It was won- 
derful at that hour to feel your way in the 
dark out to the bow and then look back. You 
can't hear the engines out there; indeed, ex- 
cept for a sound far below you of water torn 
asunder and flung aside, the bow at night is 
silent. The ship's immensity glowing softly 
out of the dark, the dim figure pacing the 
bridge, the ' 'lonely watcher" in his little turret 
away up where the black mast sways through 
the reeling stars, always gave me an overpower- 
ing sense of what a great ship is. But when I 
turned again and met nothing but spangled 
infinitude and the slender prow nosing blindly 
across that sullen trackless waste, the Astoria 
became, all at once, no more than a wind- 
blown spark from one of her own funnels. 
Somehow I never could stay there very long 
alone; and now and then, when the bells rang 


behind me and the watch away above me sang 
out his long, sweet, "All-1-l-l's well-1-1-1," I used 
almost to shudder at his confidence. 

During the day, however, one doesn't think 
of such things. It was all glittering blue and 
white, and polished brass, during the day. 
Even on the afternoon when the galley looked 
like the kitchen in Alice-in-Wonderland there 
wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the sea was a 
chaos of sapphire mountains, toppling and 
tumbling and flinging great ragged white 
crests at us along the wind. Our chairs were 
lashed (I like that word 'lashed" — it sounds so 
nautical and perilous) to an iron rod running 
along outside of the smoking-room, and there 
was a rope stretched the length of the deck that 
you clung to when you went down to meals. 
There were very few people, by the way, to 
take advantage of this; and I can't help feel- 
ing rather proud that mamma and Mildred 
and Berri and a pretty girl named Dexter and 
I were among them. When the screw would 
come rattling out of the water as if it meant 
to tear the whole stern of the boat off, mamma 

6 7 


would lean back and sigh somewhat wistfully; 
but Berri's announcement that he had just 
seen a handsome sailor chase one of the girls 
in the steerage and kiss her, cheered her 
up considerably. She inferred that a sailor 
wouldn't choose a moment of real danger in 
which to indulge in a flirtation. 

"I love a day like this," Berri exclaimed, 
poking his head out from under his rug and 
looking around. "There's so much more room 
on deck." 

"It's grand and solemn," mamma admitted, 
"but I think that as a usual thing I'd rather 
have the people. Some of them are very agree- 

"Yes," Berri conceded, "but why do the 
women wear horrible hats?" 

"Is that a conundrum?" asked Mildred, clos- 
ing her book. 

"No, indeed," Berri declared. "It's a pro- 
test, a wail— a cry of anguish from a surcharged 
heart. There aren't more than three presenta- 
ble hats on board," he added. This made 
mamma and Mildred and Miss Dexter laugh. 


"Oh, come; we don't like them quite so 
primitive," said Miss Dexter. 

"No, really," Berri went on, "there are just 
two places in the world that seem to have the 
strangest effect on women's clothes — one is 
Paris, and the other is the deck of a ship. 
In Paris, ordinarily respectable matrons feel 
called on, for some reason, to rig themselves 
up like circus riders — oh, I know; I've seen 
it happen in my own eminently respectable 
family. And on shipboard they aren't the least 
ashamed to appear in things that might have 
come off an ash-heap. They aren't, you know; 
you can't deny it. That lady over there now, 
who looks like a composite photograph of 
Savonarola and George Eliot and Louis Phi- 
lippe; she was rather handsome the first morn- 
ing, in a bold, rugged way. But look at her— 
look at her! Why a brown fore-and-aft cap? 
Why a soiled, pink crocheted thing with glass 
beads? Then another matter that always baf- 
fles me," Berri mused after mamma and Mil- 
dred and Miss Dexter had defended their sex, 
"is why people at sea always take such a hectic 

6 9 


interest in things that anywhere else they 
wouldn't give a thought to. For instance? Well 
—the way they crowd around the chart every 
day at noon and solemnly write in their diaries 
the longitude and latitude we're in— as if they 
really cared or had any but the sketchiest idea 
of what the words mean. I don't suppose one 
in twenty could tell you the longitude and 
latitude of his own town, which is of much 
greater importance than a succession of more 
or less imaginary dots across the Atlantic. 
Then too, the frenzy they throw themselves 
into over trivialities like a smoke-stack on the 
horizon, or a whale—" 

"I shouldn't call a whale trivial, exactly," 
Mildred interposed. Just what Berri would 
have attacked next I don't know, for at this 
point he exclaimed: 

"Here comes Guppy. Good-by," and pulled 
his rug up over his head. Mildred suddenly 
became absorbed once more in her book and 
Miss Dexter went instantaneously to sleep. 
This left only mamma and me to receive 


Guppy, who was evidently making for us 
along the rope. 

Berri says that "every shipload has its 
Guppy" — which sounds vaguely as if it were 
a quotation from an old English song. Guppy, 
poor man, was the sort of person who went 
around all day trying to persuade people to 
do things they didn't want to. It wasn't the 
things they really objected to; it was Guppy. 
And all his little undertakings— his concert 
and his shuffle-board tournament, his progres- 
sive euchre party and his subscription for a 
widow or an orphan or something in the steer- 
age—fizzled out most pathetically. He couldn't 
see why it was and complained that he'd never 
known such an indifferent, unenthusiastic 
crowd of people in his life. Berri couldn't en- 
dure him from the moment he came up to us 
on deck, and after asking us if we had "many 
lady friends on board," murmured, "By the 
way — I didn't catch your names." As he had 
never seen us until that instant, of course he 
hadn't caught our names. I told him what 



mine was, and as he had us pinned against 
the rail, Berri — with a crease between his eye- 
brows and his under lip stuck out — confessed 
to his. Then Guppy drew a passenger list and 
a stylographic pen from his pocket and gravely 
wrote "26" and "27" in front of "Mr. Thomas 
Wood" and "Mr. Carroll Berrisford." 

"You're the twenty-seventh person I've met 
so far on board," he confided to Berri. "I al- 
ways make a note of them because the names 
are rather confusing at first. Then later, when 
we all get to know one another better I'm 
going to take a photograph in a group and 
I have to have the names and addresses so I 
can send you copies. Of course it will give me 
a lot of letters to write, but I like to write let- 
ters—don't you?" 

"I never write letters," replied Berri. 

"Never at all— to anybody? Not even to your 
mother and father?" Guppy asked incredu- 

"My father's dead, and I manage to be with 
my mother as much as possible so I shan't 



have to write even to her," Berri snapped as he 
turned his back. 

Now, I can't do that sort of thing. I con- 
fess that some times when Guppy goaded me 
to madness I felt like it and thought I was go- 
ing to, but at the last moment I always ended 
weakly by being polite to him. And the tragedy 
of it was that while Guppy pursued me merely 
because his whole life was one long pursuit— 
Berri, he quite adored; he used to tell me every 
day how clever and attractive he considered 

When he came lurching along the deck that 
rough afternoon it was to say that he was get- 
ting up a little dance for some evening be- 
fore we landed and to ask us if we wouldn't 
help him make it a success. It was so like 
Guppy to hold on to a wet rope with both 
hands and outline schemes for a little dance. 
Of course, mamma smiled approval, and I said 
I should be delighted (I could hear Berri snig- 
ger under his rugs as I said it). Yet although 
it was perfectly smooth the next evening, and 


stayed so until the end of the trip, Guppy and 
I were the only ones who seemed to remember 
the dance or the tournament or the card party 
or the photographic group. It was not only 
embarrassing— it was sad. But Berri thought 
I was ridiculous to bore myself and waste sym- 
pathy on Guppy, who, he said, was by far the 
happiest person on the ship. All this sounds 
as if Berri were rather bad-tempered and hard 
to get along with. Yet, as a matter of fact, every- 
body liked him and he scarcely ever had any 
time to himself. There was always a flock of 
children pawing him, or sitting around his 
chair while he read Dickens' History of Eng- 
land to them; and he spent part of every morn- 
ing in hearing two old ladies recite the French 
Meisterschaft System. 

"They're really getting along very nicely," 
he used to tell me, "only they will say tres 
beaucoup, and think it's neither natural nor 
proper that 'cat' should be masculine." 

Toward the end of the week people began 
to sniff the land and grow restless. Of course 
I was eager to see land myself, but at the same 


time I couldn't help resenting a little the new 
interest that was bringing the long, lazy days 
and romantic nights to an end. 

Ireland was a faint, tantalizing shadow 
against a silver-gray fog. We missed half of 
dinner waiting for it to emerge; but it 
wouldn't. And the next day we steamed be- 
tween the flat, shabby shores of the Mersey to 
Liverpool. As we hung over the rail waiting 
for the trunks to be taken off, the people on 
the landing-stage below looked delightfully 
familiar to me. I had known all the stolid Bob- 
bies and trim, vivid Tommies so intimately in 
picture-books and plays! The perfect order — 
the solemnity almost— with which we were 
landed was what I had, somehow, expected of 
England. When a big policeman held up a 
hand like a ham and the crowd fell back; when 
two ponderous doors swung open and a pro- 
cession of gigantic horses led by porters in 
corduroy and drawing little drays came tramp- 
ing in ("down to the footlights" I almost 
wrote), I wondered if Berri and I weren't, after 



all, sitting in the front row of the Bowdoin 
Square Theatre. 

A most embarrassing thing happened at the 
custom house. It seemed particularly bad be- 
cause the officials were all so polite and con- 
siderate. As there were very few people whose 
names began with W our trunks were marked 
and passed through almost immediately, and 
I went over to the B section to see how Berri 
and his aunt were progressing. They seem to 
take one's word in England, for the examina- 
tion was a mere matter of form. Berri had 
just declared that his trunks contained no 
spirits, perfumery, dutiable books, tobacco, 
cigarettes or cigars, and the inspector had 
handed him back his keys and passed on to 
Aunt Josephine. He asked the same questions 
of her in the politest and most perfunctory 
way possible, and then — simply to remain 
within the law— threw back the lid of her 
steamer-trunk. On the top tray were two large 
boxes of cigars, three tins of tobacco and a 
decorative assortment of cigarettes. He looked 
jovially at poor Miss Berrisford for a moment 



(she had turned to look anything but jovially 
at Berri), and I think he winked at her. 

"I say— she does smoke good ones, doesn't 
she!" he chuckled, as he gathered up the smug- 
gled treasure. 



I'm sure I never could write a book of travel. 
The people who do are a constant source of 
astonishment and admiration to me. It isn't 
exactly because they know such a lot, for al- 
though I can only occasionally remember who 
built St. Paul's Cathedral, and the sum total 
of Henry the Eighth's wives, I've no doubt I 
could inform myself on those subjects if my 
ignorance began to worry me. It's because they 
seem to feel so much. Almost everything in 
the country they happen to be telling about 
impresses them— moves them to write an ex- 
haustive page or two. I often wonder if their 
powers of observation are actually so great, 
their sympathies so broad, their emotions so 
sensitive, or if they are, most of the time, really 
boring themselves to death just to make the 
volume complete. This occurred to me par- 
ticularly the other day when I realized how 

7 8 


few things in comparison I felt like writing 
about at all. And since then it has been a ques- 
tion with me whether a diary in Europe ought 
to go in for politics, religion, the rotation of 
crops and the economical cremation of gar- 
bage, or whether it ought merely to tell of 
things that somehow stick in your mind and, 
even when you're tired and sleepy, slide easily 
off the end of your pen. When I asked Berri 
what he thought, he said that, since I restricted 
him to a choice between the shallow and the 
insincere, he would choose shallowness every 
time as it is so much less trouble. This doesn't 
help me, exactly. 

One thing, however, I do know, and that 
is, I never could go at those other things — 
the things that make the volume complete — 
until London had begun to dazzle me a little 
less than it does now. Berri scorns the idea of 
anything British ever dazzling anybody. 

"One can be appalled, overwhelmed, de- 
jected or enraged by London— but not daz- 
zled; never in the world," he says. "Why, if 
this sort of thing dazzles you, I'll be leading 



you around on a leash when we get to Paris. 
But then/' he added, "I love France, and some- 
how, to one who loves France, England's great- 
est appeal must ever be made by her tailors." 

Perhaps our arrival seemed more dazzling 
to me because the trip from Liverpool was — 
to quote Mildred— like cutting the leaves of 
an Anthony Trollope novel. "Of course, we've 
cut them before— all except Tommy; but this 
is a new edition," she mused as the train 
whisked past a double row of neat hedges, be- 
tween which we saw for an instant a clergy- 
man who had stopped to speak to a stout, red- 
faced lady driving an overfed pony in a basket 

"Yes," replied Berri, waving toward the lit- 
tle scene, "that's the climax of Chapter ninety- 
seven, Volume two, in which the vicar tells 
the mayor's lady on her way home from tea 
with the doctor's family that old Mrs. Smith- 
ers' rheumatism is bad again." 

I have seen in our own country fields as 
green and trees as stately and villages as peace- 
ful as those between Liverpool and London, 


but I had never before seen fields and trees 
and villages that looked so thoroughly as if 
they belonged to one another. Whether the 
view we got as we flew along was of a fat and 
rolling pasture with low-branched oak trees 
clustered in the purple haze, or one of those 
fresh, moist, leafy English lanes, or a tiny 
meadow with tired men resting on the hay, 
or a church tower pushing through the billowy 
tree-tops— no matter what it was, it always gave 
me the feeling that it had assumed its final 
form. Even Berri, although he doesn't like 
England, admits that though you might add 
to rural England at its best, or subtract from 
it, you couldn't improve it: it's finished. Yet 
he declares that the race is almost devoid of a 
sense of beauty. We squabbled about this in 
the train, and to my most convincing argu- 
ment, which was: "But look about you— look 
out of the window! How do you account for 
it? It surely isn't accident," he answered com- 
placently: "Oh, yes; I think it is, very largely. 
It depends almost entirely on the fact that 
both land and lumber have been scarce for so 


long. The fields are of a size to give you that 
intimate, cozy, homelike feeling; and they're 
marked off by hedges. If there were more land 
the spaces would be larger, and if there were 
more boards the spaces would be separated 
by fences advising us to try Patterson's Purple 
Pellets for Pained People. That's really all 
there is to it." This was very well, but it didn't 
explain, for instance, the happy absence in 
the villages we passed of what my professor 
in philosophy calls "the Graeco- Baptist style 
of church architecture." However, there was 
no use in remarking on this; Berri would have 
wriggled out of it in some way. 

There are several persons in the world who 
positively scare me at times by knowing just 
what is going on in my head and telling me 
about it when I haven't had the slightest in- 
tention of conveying my reflections to them. 
Mamma is one and Berri is another. Mamma 
as a rule confines her mind-reading propensi- 
ties to matters of ethics and hygiene; she al- 
ways divines, for instance, the moment at 
which you have privately decided to do some- 


thing that isn't good for you. As papa says: 

"I don't undertake to explain your mother; 
I simply resign myself to the fact that she has 
'intuitions.' " 

As Berri probably doesn't care whether you 
do things that are good for you or not, he sur- 
prises you in other ways. It was in the cab on 
the way from the station that he suddenly 
laughed and came out with: "Why is it, I won- 
der, that we don't just take things for what 
they're worth, instead of eternally weighing 
them in the balance with something differ- 
ent?" I don't suppose I should have known 
what he meant if this wasn't precisely what I 
had been doing. 

"You haven't heard me making any con- 
trasts," I replied. 

"Well, if they aren't audible— that's about 
the only thing they aren't," he answered, and 
I couldn't help confessing that he was right. 
For arriving in London was so different from 
any arriving I had done before that I found 
myself taking in all the details as if they were 
of tremendous importance, and telling myself 

8 3 


they were either better or worse than those 
of other places— places at home. To begin 
with, instead of only one or two porters whom 
somebody else always succeeds in getting, there 
was a prodigal number of efficient giants who 
knew much better than you did what you 
wanted done and who firmly, yet politely, took 
possession of you and proceeded to do it. (The 
politeness of English servants, by the way, 
strikes an untraveled American as positively 
embarrassing. On the dining-car the waiter 
gravely murmured "Thank you" every time 
he handed us anything whether we took it or 
not. Berri says: "Though the American ser- 
vant has no manners whatever, he has a very 
kind heart. The manners of an English ser- 
vant, on the other hand, are perfect; but when 
hearts were passed around he helped himself 
to a gizzard. 'You pays your money and takes 
your choice' — especially the former." 

Then, too, when we got out of the train (get- 
ting out of an European train makes you feel 
as if you were escaping through the window) 
there was a long row of cabs inside the station, 

8 4 


just across the narrow platform. As you emerge 
from your compartment your carriage literally 
"blocks the way"; which is so logical and con- 
venient, and altogether unlike anything you 
have experienced before, that it seems almost 
uncanny. I thought that with papa and 
mamma, Mildred, Aunt Josephine, Berri and 
me and all our luggage we should need about 
five of the little boxed-up vehicles— four- 
wheelers, they call them. But no, indeed; 
when I suggested it one of our porters re- 
proved me with a look that would have been 
paternal if it hadn't been so polite, and said 
that two would do very well. I felt sure that 
when he saw all the trunks and bags and 
bundles of rugs we had he would change his 
mind, and I went forward to the baggage car 
(I mean "luggage van") to pick out our things. 
This performance struck me as rather primi- 
tive and careless. The passengers hadn't been 
given checks for anything, and as they stood 
near the car exclaiming: "That's mine— and 
this one— and this one!" it looked a little as 
if they were at some sort of a bargain sale ap- 

8 5 


propriating whatever took their fancy. Per- 
haps I was particularly impressed by the casual 
manner in which it was done from the fact 
that when I turned to mamma and said "Is this 
small trunk yours?" she examined it for a mo- 
ment and then replied, 'Tin not sure; but it 
might be," and we had it put on one of our 

Oh, those little four-wheelers! Their frames 
must be of the best steel. When ours were 
finally loaded there was so much superstruc- 
ture that the cab itself almost disappeared like 
the hull of a freight ship, and I knew that the 
pictures I had seen all my life in English funny 
papers and thought impossible were more or 
less true. We ended by getting a third cab- 
not because it was necessary, but because 
mamma and Aunt Josephine declared that, 
even if they had survived the horrors of the 
Atlantic, they didn't consider themselves im- 

"It strikes me as most irrational," mamma 
exclaimed, when Mildred insisted that she 


would be perfectly safe, "to build a wobbling 
pyramid of horrible trunks and then go sit 
under it." 

Aunt Josephine was especially willing that 
there should be a third vehicle as it diminished 
the chances of her having to speak to Berri— 
whom she hadn't forgiven for putting all his 
tobacco on the top tray of her steamer trunk 
just before we landed. So we finally threaded 
our way out of the crowded station in a little 
procession of three— papa and Mildred ahead, 
mamma and Aunt Josephine next, and Berri 
and I bringing up the rear. 

Almost every day since I've been here I've 
got an impression from something or other 
that, I've told myself, I should never forget. 
Of course, I shall forget most of them; or at 
least they will blur a little as we travel more — 
all but one. And that is driving for the first 
time through the West End of London at half- 
past eleven o'clock on a warm July evening. 
That, I think, I shall always be able to recall 
and marvel over. A week of the sea, an after- 

8 7 


noon of quiet fields and sleepy villages, then 
suddenly London at "the height of the sea- 

The whole city was giving out a soft, 
luminous haze; for besides the street lights 
and the gliding lamps of cabs and carriages 
and omnibuses, the solid miles of low, massive, 
consequential houses we passed were thrown 
open to the night air from top to bottom and 
glowing at every door and window. As we 
rumbled along under our mountain of lug- 
gage we peered into brilliant rooms and caught 
glimpses of magnificent footmen in magnifi- 
cent hallways, holding magnificent wraps for 
magnificent, bare-shouldered women. Even 
Mildred, when she's dressed for a party, al- 
ways thrills me a little, and that night, as I've 
said, I was simply dazzled. For when we got 
away from the more private streets and the 
great aristocratic squares with little parks in 
the centre and fortresses of historic-looking 
dwellings surrounding them, we came all at 
once to where the blazing theatres and music- 
halls were disgorging into the golden night. 


Thousands and thousands of men and women 
in evening dress streamed along the sidewalks 
and flowed over into the street among the car- 
riages. They sauntered past, the men without 
overcoats and the ladies, many of them, with 
neither a hat nor a wrap. It was as if a gigantic 
ballroom had suddenly taken wings and flut- 
tered down into the middle of a great city. And 
there was about it all the same undercurrent 
of restrained eagerness you are aware of in a 
ballroom. No one was in a hurry exactly; yet, 
as the tall, white-gloved men and shimmering 
women sank into carriages or drifted past on 
foot, you felt that for them the night was 
young; they were "going on." They had been 
to a dinner, probably, and a play, and now 
there was supper to be eaten somewhere, and 
then later there was, perhaps, a dance. It was 
this spectacle that gave me my first idea of 
London's hugeness. These were merely the 
people who could afford to put on good clothes 
and amuse themselves; and yet the social ma- 
chine of London is so colossal that you feel 
as if everybody in the world had all at once 



become part of it. For a moment the whole of 
life seemed to be a long, glowing summer eve- 
ning and the pursuit of pleasure. I was so 
astounded by it all— the lights, the slow crowd, 
the great, top-heavy, lurching omnibuses, the 
swift, silent, hansom cabs, the omnipotent 
policemen, who with calm, uplifted fingers 
bring the universe to a standstill, the adorable 
soldiers swaggering through it all, two by two, 
in a sort of brilliant scarlet rhythm — I was so 
absorbed by these sights (and Berri was, too) 
that at first we didn't pay any attention to our 
driver when he leaned around to the window 
and asked us what hotel we were going to. 

''Why, come to think of it, I don't know," 
Berri at length answered. "Follow the others/' 
he then shouted. But our man had lost the 
others, which was his reason for asking us our 
destination in the first place. A policeman had 
stopped him in order to let the waiting crowd 
cross a side street and at that moment the rest 
of our party had faded away. We discussed 
the matter at first without any particular anxi- 
ety, for it didn't seem very important some- 


how; but when Berri dropped the subject al- 
together and began to regret that we had 
arrived too late to go to a music-hall, the 
driver (who had got off his box) showed signs 
of impatience. 

"Well, I have only one suggestion to make," 
Berri declared, and it sounded as if he were 
doing both the driver and me a great favor by 
making even one. "Aunt Josephine used to 
stay at a little hotel in Half Moon Street— 
Parkyns' Hotel, I think it was. She's a creature 
of habit, so it's possible that she has gone there 
this time and persuaded your people to do the 
same. We might drive there and find out." 
This sounded sensible and reassuring, as Half 
Moon Street was comparatively near the place 
at which the families had been torn asunder. 
However, when we reached the dim, quiet lit- 
tle locality there was no Parkyns' anywhere, 
and one of those bleary, sodden, hopeless look- 
ing men who inevitably rise through the pave- 
ment in London whenever a cab draws up to 
the curbstone, told us (for a penny) that 
Parkyns had closed his doors the year before. 


" 'Then the will was a forgery and Lady 
Muriel's chyild was found murrrrderrrred. I 
suspect foul play in this/ " Berri quoted from 
his favorite drama, Alone in London, or some 
such thing. "Now you think of something/' 
he added: "my suggestion doesn't seem to have 
been very illuminating." 

But as I hadn't heard papa mention the sub- 
ject of hotels I couldn't think of a thing. There 
was really nothing to do but postpone our 
search until morning and find a place of our 
own. Berri knew of two on Jermyn Street next 
door to each other; but as they both looked 
so much alike we couldn't immediately de- 
cide on either. This made it somewhat embar- 
rassing for a moment (Berri, however, didn't 
seem to mind it in the least), as our driver had 
stopped neither at one door nor the other, 
but between the two, and the porters who had 
run out from both places had to stand in sus- 
pense while we tossed up a shilling. 

Our luggage for two young men was pre- 
posterous. There were two enormous trunks 
—the kind that are made especially for fussy 



dresses. Then there was a bundle of rugs with 
some unmistakably feminine parasol handles 
sticking out of one end, and three refined and 
ladylike little leather bags containing only 
the things that mamma, Mildred and Aunt Jo- 
sephine couldn't possibly do without. I hadn't 
realized that there was nothing of our own in 
the collection until the stern woman who man- 
aged the hotel asked us, without the glimmer 
of a smile, what pieces we wished to have taken 
to our rooms, and Berri collapsed on one of 
the trunks. 

"I speak to sleep in Aunt Josephine's 
dinner-dress," he declared, "the one with the 
train and blue spangles." 

While he was rocking to and fro I explained 
to the manager-lady what had happened. She 
didn't seem to grasp the situation very clearly, 
but Berri, when I told him about it on the way 
upstairs, said I mustn't infer from this that 
she wasn't grasping. 

"I know this kind of a hotel of old," he de- 
clared. "It's what they call a 'private' hotel. 
There probably isn't any dining-room, be- 



cause you're supposed either to have a private 
one or dine out every evening; and there won't 
be any bells in the bedrooms, because it's as- 
sumed that you travel with a servant who 
knows your every unspoken speech and un- 
thought thought. In fact, there really won't be 
much of anything except an uninterrupted 
procession of tall, brass hot-water pitchers and 
privacy. Oh, there'll be privacy to throw to 
the birds— about ten dollars' worth every day. 
Don't you notice a general air of arsenical 
wall-paper and melancholia? A don't-speak- 
loud -because - everybody - died - this - morning- 
and-it's-all- very-sad sort of feeling? Well, that's 
privacy. After about a day and a half of it you 
feel as if you'd like to go and live in some nice, 
cheerful place like a department store or a 
railway station." 

Even if you don't altogether agree with 
Berri (and I rarely do) there is usually some- 
thing in what he says. The private hotel, how- 
ever (we stayed there for three days), didn't 
depress me in the least, although, as he pre- 
dicted, it was excessively private. We had two 



enormous, musty and hideous rooms, fur- 
nished in a style that Berri said was no doubt 
considered extremely elegant in the early 'six- 
ties. There was a clock that didn't go, under 
an elongated glass bubble in the middle of 
the mantelpiece. It was one of those square, 
black marble affairs with a simpering, metallic 
woman, a dog and a goat perched on the roof. 
Berri uncovered the group and then, when I 
wound the clock up and it struck twenty-nine 
without stopping to take breath, he dropped 
the bubble on the hearth. On one corner of 
the mantelpiece there was a round box with 
small shells glued all over it, and on the other 
there was a little easel supporting a calla lily 
painted on black plush. 

In each room there were two engravings 
and a sort of chromo. My art gallery consisted 
of "The Finding of Moses/' "The Soldier's 
Farewell," and "Fast Friends" (a horrid little 
girl shaking hands with a Newfoundland dog). 
Berri's collection was made up of "The Beg- 
gar's Dream," "Et Tu, Brute," and "Playing 
Grandma" (another repulsive child trying on 


a pair of spectacles). Into the back of every 
chair a strip of worsted "fancy work" had been 
incorporated, and the beds (they would have 
made swell tennis-courts) were, in height and 
temperature, even as the dizzy Jungfrau. 

Berri caught a splendid cold from sleeping 
in his the first night (the linen was never quite 
dry), and after that he used to say: "Well, I 
think it's time to get dressed and go to bed." 
After dark all these medieval relics were dimly 
outlined by the light of two tall, slim candles 
— that is to say, they were until Barri trisected 
each candle, thus causing six suffocated little 
points of light to flare and sputter where only 
two had done so before. 

"Isn't it charming of them!" he exclaimed 
when we got them all lighted and groped our 
way about the room— with our hands over our 
eyes, pretending that we were blinded by the 
glare. "I never knew before that there was any- 
thing so clever and obliging except a worm." 

Now there must have been some one besides 
ourselves staying at that hotel, because on a 
little marble-topped table near the front door 



there were always fifteen or twenty letters and 
telegrams. But we never saw anybody giggling 
over the improbable names on them as we did. 

In fact, during the three days of our stay, 
with the exception of one red-faced, Roman- 
nosed, military-looking gentleman who glared 
at us through a single eyeglass and immedi- 
ately left the breakfast-room— -perfectly furi- 
ous, Berri was convinced, because we had in- 
truded on his privacy— we never saw anybody 
at all. We went and came at every imaginable 
hour (after midnight you had to ring the door- 
bell in order to get in— quite as if you were liv- 
ing at home and your family didn't approve of 
latch-keys), but apparently no one else ever 
did. Once in a while, as we tiptoed through the 
upper corridors, open doors would silently 
swing to and close softly before we reached 
them. That was the only human indication in 
the whole place, except, of course, the thor- 
oughly inhuman chambermaids and waiters. 

We stayed at the hotel for three days be- 
cause, until we found mamma and papa, Mil- 
dred and Aunt Josephine, there really didn't 



seem to be anything else to do. Our efforts to 
reunite were futile and hopeless. We began 
by going into every hotel we saw as we strolled 
about the streets and asking if a Mr. Wood and 
party were staying there; but they never were. 
At least the Mr. Wood I was looking for 
wasn't. A Mr. Wood did happen to be at one 
, place and left his luncheon to come out and 
see what I wanted. But he was a very old man 
with a long white beard— not papa at all— and 
he looked extremely angry when Berri put a- 
hand on my shoulder and exclaimed: "Child, 
does nothing tell thee that this is thy father?" 

At the end of the first morning we were 
completely worn out and I don't suppose we 
had made any impression whatever on the 
number of hotels. It was then that Berri sug- 
gested that we should visit all of London's 
principal sights by day, and go to restaurants, 
music-halls and theatres in the evening. 

"You always run across people most unex- 
pectedly when you do that," he said. 

One phase of our situation that struck us 
both as hard luck was the necessity of buying 



shirts and pajamas and toilet articles, and all 
that sort of thing, when somewhere in London 
we both had more than we needed. Berri for- 
tunately had plenty of money and we were 
able to make ourselves comparatively com- 
fortable; but it seemed a great waste. When 
we went to the theatre we had to sit in the pit, 
as in the other parts of the house you're 
expected to wear evening clothes, and we 
couldn't go quite the length of ordering new 
dress suits. In restaurants where we dined we 
were always coldly examined through the most 
formidable lorgnettes and monocles, which 
caused me considerable discomfort until Berri 

"Why, you know, the disapproval of all 
these walrus-toothed, lank-armed matrons and 
dull-looking, ox-eyed men doesn't disconcert 
me in the least. If I didn't own any dress 
clothes I might feel badly — although I'm not 
sure. But as I really have some — though 
Heaven only knows where — the mere wearing 
of them is a detail." 

We would start off in the morning to see 


something, and although we met in the course 
of three days about everybody I'd known be- 
fore in college and out, we never came across 
our own families. We went to the Tower, 
Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, the 
Royal Academy, the National Gallery and the 
British Museum. I'm sure we shouldn't have 
seen so much of London if we hadn't had this 
distinctly personal motive in visiting so many 
places. For Berri very soon tires of looking at 
things and never forces himself to "see a sight" 
from the feeling that he may not have another 
chance. To tell the truth, I don't think it's 
much of an advantage to go about in Europe 
with people who've seen everything. 

When, for instance, we first went into West- 
minster Abbey late one afternoon, I thought 
it was more beautiful than any place I had 
ever imagined (I think so yet), and after we 
had been there for a while, looking up at the 
dim stonework soaring through the twilight, 
I said so. 

"Yes," Berri agreed, "the part of it that has 
a tendency to make one sit with eyes uplifted 


in a sort of trance is very beautiful— but it's 
beautiful, of course, chiefly because it's 
French. Even the heavy-handed Briton hasn't 
completely spoiled it; although he's done what 
he could. From the sublime to— well, to Great 
Britain's idea of the fitness of things, is only 
the height of the nave, however. My dear, 
they've taken an exquisite Gothic poem and 
turned it into a kind of mortuary junk-shop. 
Did you ever see anything quite as fearful as 
all this crowded theatrical statuary? I mean, 
of course, outside the Campo Santo at Genoa; 
that, naturally, is always excepted. It isn't the 
immortal dead I object to; nobody has more 
genuine reverence for them than I have. It's 
the ill-advised and hideous distinctions of 
their immortality that have been drawn— or 
rather sculptured— that make one wince. As 
if the Abbey in itself weren't a greater monu- 
ment than any man, however great, deserves. 
And besides, a lot of these people — the ones 
who take up most room in fact — aren't really 
great at all, and never were; whereas Glad- 
stone" — (of course, this involved a prolonged 


argument as to just how great Gladstone was, 
which I haven't time to write down)— "Glad- 
stone is given a sort of postage stamp in the 
pavement that you walk on two or three times 
before you discover it; and that bust of Ten- 
nyson over there looks for all the world like a 
painless dentist/' 

The Abbey is rather crowded, I admit; yet 
I maintained that it was impressive to wander 
about so much tangible greatness, whereupon 
Berri exclaimed: 

"Do you think Memorial Hall would be 
any more impressive for a lot of gesticulating 
gentlemen and highfalutin angels blowing 
trumpets?" which, as usual, left me nothing 
to say. 

At the Royal Academy, too, he made me feel 
for a moment quite as simple and unsophisti- 
cated; for you never can tell with Berri just 
where seriousness leaves off and sarcasm be- 
gins. We had turned out of crowded Picca- 
dilly, strolled through the long stone court 
of Burlington House, climbed the stairs and 
emerged, first into a kind of rotunda filled 


with statues, and then into a great room hung 
with the most interesting looking paintings. 
They were so highly colored and new and gay! 
The whole place, in fact, smelled of fresh paint 
like a studio, and as I stood there taking it all 
in before I began to examine in detail, I 
couldn't help exclaiming: 

"Isn't this lovely !" 

"Gracious — don't say that; some one might 
hear you," Berri implored. 

"Well, I don't care; it is lovely," I answered. 

"Lovely? It's dreadful; perfectly dreadful." 

"You haven't seen anything yet. How on 
earth can you tell?" I asked rather peevishly. 
Berri just stared at me. 

"Do you mean to say you didn't know that 
the Academy is always dreadful," he ex- 
claimed, "and that you actually intend to look 
at these things?" 

"Of course, I intend to look at them. Don't 
you? What did you come for?" 

"I? Oh, I came to see the Sargents. I'd rather 
die than be caught looking at anything else," 
he declared. 



We met, as I said, a great many people we 
knew— friends of Berri's and friends of mine; 
and they would all exclaim, after talking for a 
minute or so about other things: 

"Have you been to the Royal Academy? 
Isn't it dreadful?" Then they would add, as if 
apologizing for having been there at all: "Of 
course, we only went to see the Sargents." 

I could not help agreeing with Berri one 
evening when he leaned back in his chair and, 
after gazing at the overdressed people in the 
wonderful gilt and marble room where we had 
come to dine, murmured: 

"Isn't the world an absurd place?" There 
was a sort of soft roar of conversation and 
laughter; the red-shaded candles on the little 
tables were glowing feverishly and the musi- 
cians were playing something from La Vie de 

"Here we are," Berri added, "two Ameri- 
cans—in England — dining at a thoroughly 
French restaurant— chiefly for the purpose of 
hearing a Hungarian orchestra play Italian 


music. Dear me— how simple modern life is, to 
be sure!" 

We tried a different restaurant every night 
— every one more gorgeous and expensive than 
the last; but we never came across papa and 
mamma, Mildred and Aunt Josephine. Nor 
did we see them afterward as we sauntered 
through the solid streets on the way to the 
theatre, and peered into as many as we could 
of the hundreds and hundreds of cabs that 
flashed past us. I shall always think of London 
as a place where the chief occupation of the 
male sex seems to be that of "dining out." 
From half-past six until about half-past eight 
on summer evenings the West End is a kalei- 
doscope of hansom cabs, and in every one — 
leaning slightly forward, with a white-gloved 
hand resting listlessly upon the apron— sits 
a tall, stiff, "immaculate" man in evening 
clothes. Where do they all come from? Where 
are they all going? One never sees anything 
like it in New York or Boston; Perugia, Wis- 
consin, of course, doesn't count. And I don't 


think that in those places one sees anything 
like the long, long English twilight. 

On the third night of our stay at the private 
hotel, after I had blown out our six little can- 
dles and was all drawn up in a knot in my vast 
bed and just beginning to dream that some 
one was making me sleep on a snowdrift in the 
middle of Soldiers' Field, Berri called to me 
from his room. 

"Granny," he said, "a great light has 
dawned on me; I know how to find your 
family and mine. If we get up early enough we 
can surprise them at breakfast." 

I begged him to tell me how he intended to 
do it; but he wouldn't. All I could persuade 
him to say was: 

"I should consider myself awfully clever if 
we hadn't been so hopelessly stupid in not 
thinking of it before." As I fell asleep again I 
could hear him still chuckling in his pillow. 

It seemed so stupid of us not to have gone 

at once to our bankers that, in thinking 

the matter over, I couldn't help wondering 

whether Berri hadn't all along known that it 



was the only thing to do, and had deliberately 
not done it. However, when I accused him of 
this, he just laughed and said: "Your father 
has definitely made up his mind that we are 
both hopeless. His attitude toward me is that 
of a person who has formally washed his hands. 
But, by Heaven, the good time we had was 
worth it!" 

The morning after Berri's great light had 
dawned on him he slipped off to the bank be- 
fore I was awake, and when I opened my eyes 
about an hour later he was standing by my 
bed with a letter from his Aunt Josephine in 
his hand. (There was also one for me from 
papa, but this he didn't tell me about until 
afterward.) Furthermore, he wouldn't tell me 
where the family were staying, but said that 
if I got up immediately and hurried we might 
breakfast with them. His manner was so seri- 
ous and restrained that at first I was afraid 
something had happened and he didn't know 
just how to break the news. But later I found 
out that he was merely smothering shrieks of 
laughter and couldn't do it in any other way. 


We ran downstairs as soon as I was ready, 
hailed one of the hansom cabs that glide slowly 
up and down the short street all day and most 
of the night, and jumped in. At least I did; 
Berri stopped a moment to give the driver di- 
rections which — although I couldn't hear 
them— seemed to be long and complicated. 
Then we whirled around a few corners and 
plunged into the thick of Piccadilly. For a time 
I knew where we were, but we soon got into 
a maze of city streets I didn't recognize. The 
crowd in the "city" part of London is some- 
thing appalling. It's so unending and so dense 
that after you've been in it for about fifteen 
minutes you begin to forget that it's composed 
of men and women, and horses and vehicles; 
you lose all sense of individuality — even your 
own strikes you as pathetically unimportant — 
and you find yourself regarding the slow, 
never-ceasing procession as if it were a slug- 
gish subterranean river. Berri said he was glad 
he didn't have to see it often as it always gave 
him a sort of contempt for the value of human 



"I like to imagine a great absent-minded 
monster from another planet," he declared, 
"with stone feet the size of ocean steamers, 
striding across the city— one leg in, say, the 
Strand and the other in Ludgate Hill. Think 
of the thousands he would squash, and then 
think of all the other thousands that would 
flow on just the same and cover up the bare 
places almost before you knew anything had 

During the inevitable discussion that fol- 
lowed I didn't pay any attention to where we 
were going until, all at once, I saw by a clock in 
a jeweler's window that we had been driving 
for three-quarters of an hour. 

"Where in the world are they staying?" I 
demanded, for I was beginning to believe that 
the driver had lost his way. But Berri wouldn't 
say more than that the distances in London 
and Paris are really incredible. 

"And there's so much sameness about it all," 

I added. "Now this square that we are just 

passing through is almost exactly like one near 

our hotel; it's a little larger, and the houses 



look rather newer, but otherwise the two 
places are practically the same. What's the 
matter with you?" I asked; for Berri gave a 
loud whoop and leaned back in the cab. 

"Something has blown into my eye," he ex- 
claimed. "Quick— quick— take my handker- 
chief and get it out; it's killing me." 

While I was in the midst of this operation- 
it took some time and I couldn't find anything 
— the cab stopped and we both got out. Then 
I turned to Berri and the driver (who were 
both laughing at me), stared at the street and 
wondered if I had gone crazy; for we were 
standing in front of our own private hotel. 

"You don't mean to say—" I began. Here 
Berri put his hands over his ears and shrieked. 

"I do— I do," he declared, sitting down on 
the doorstep. "They have rooms under ours, 
and have had ever since they got here!" 

Well, all I have to say is that it will be a de- 
pressing day for the police when the red- 
handed murderer and the absconding bank 
president discover some of the possibilities of 
an English private hotel, 


I don't quite know how I induced the family 
to let me go to France with Berri, for they all 
agree that it is eminently unsafe for me to be 
out of their sight for a moment. Papa has never 
regained even his skeptical faith in my ability 
since the time, a year or so ago, when I came 
home from a little trip and let my trunks re- 
pose in the railway station for four days before 
sending for them. The dollar he had to pay for 
storage might be a small matter, papa de- 
clared, but it was annoyingly significant of my 

''You're not a millionaire, and yet most of 
your actions seem to be based upon the as- 
sumption that you are," he said. "Now I don't 
mind your spending a dollar if you get any- 
thing for it. But in this case you've got noth- 



"I don't see how you make that out," I com- 

"Well, what on earth did you get?" he de- 
manded. To which I brilliantly replied: 

"Why— I got the trunks/' 

Mamma, however, has brief moments of be- 
lief in me, and she must have been in the 
midst of one when I told her that Berri was 
going to meet his mother somewhere on the 
other side of the Channel and wanted me to 
travel with him; for she said she realized per- 
fectly that a family party was not one continu- 
ous round of hectic gaiety, and told papa that 
he ought to let me go— which, after a heart to 
heart on the subject of irresponsibility, he 
very kindly did. To be altogether frank— al- 
though we are in every way a united and de- 
voted family anywhere — I think we find it 
easier to display our most pleasing qualities 
around the cozy green lamp of home. The 
same inducements to a difference of opinion 
don't seem to obtain there. Ordering a meal at 
a restaurant, for instance, is a detail, but I am 
convinced that the world would be more teem- 


ing with fond parents and loving children if 
the necessity for doing it didn't, in traveling, 
daily arise. I have noticed that the various 
members of touring family parties never seem 
to know what they want to eat, beyond the 
fact that it isn't what anybody else wants. Some 
day I shall write a paper on the incompatibil- 
ity of hunger. 

Berri, in this respect at least, is extremely 
easy to get along with— chiefly, I think, be- 
cause he is so definite in his likes and dislikes. 
He always knows just what he wants to eat and 
drink, and never hesitates to say so. In the mat- 
ter of sightseeing he is much the same. He says 
he once and for all has done with certain Eu- 
ropean sights just as he has struck turnips, 
parsnips, onions, cabbage and all the other 
"intrinsically vulgar vegetables"— as he calls 
them— off his bill-of-fare. In fact, before we 
left London he wrote out a little list of things 
that he came to Europe not to see. Here are 
a few of them: 

1. Ornamental gratings filled with the 
bones of slaughtered virgins. 



2. Any other kind of bones. 

3. Frescoed ceilings that hurt the back of 
your neck. 

4. Embalmed saints. 

5. Dungeons, catacombs or other localities 
in which you drop candle-grease on your best 

6. The pictures of Peter Paul Reubens— 
which have all the shy, rosy grace of dead pigs 
in a butcher shop. 

7. The inside of royal palaces; they possess 
all the vulgarity and none of the comforts of a 
New York hotel. 

8. Plowed fields (especially if it's raining) 
on which the entire course of human events 
was changed. 

9. Provincial museums full of kitchen uten- 
sils pertaining to the Stone Age. 

"If you go to see any of these things," Berri 
warned me, "you'll have to go alone." 

To tell the truth, I couldn't help feeling for 

a moment as if we might as well have stayed at 

home. The things Berri was resolved to omit 

seemed to be the very sights people come to 



Europe for. However, he explained, there 
were others. He declared, making use of his 
favorite metaphor, that he would leave no 
straw unturned in which he could find a 
Gothic cathedral concealed; and he said he 
never got tired of taking walks in the country, 
especially if there were hills to climb with 
views on the other side. He's very fond, too, of 
old gardens— formal gardens with box hedges 
and borders, and fountains and stone balus- 
trades, where peacocks ought to preen them- 
selves, and so rarely do. (I maintain that only 
swans "preen" — peacocks strut. But Berri says 
his great-grandmother used to sing a song that 

Oh, come into the ha-ha 

And watch the peacocks preen, 

For it's the prettiest sight, my dear, 
That you have ever seen. 

I'm quite sure that he made this up on the 
spur of the moment, just to lend a certain his- 
torical authority to his assertion; but when 
Berri quotes his great-grandmother at me I al- 
ways retract everything.) 



"And rivers — oh, rivers! I'm just crazy about 
them," he confided to me when we were talk- 
ing over our trip. "France simply sparkles with 
the nicest little ones you ever saw, winding 
through the loveliest landscapes in the world 
—all dinky little fields and orchards, and broad 
white roads and lonely old stucco country 
houses, and tall poplar trees shimmering 
against the sky. We'll go down the Seine from 
Rouen to Le Havre; then we'll cross the bay 
(it's always frightfully rough there, and every- 
body on the boat, with the exception of you 
and me, will wish he were dead) and go up the 
Orne to Caen. You remember Caen in Fine 
Arts, don't you— and the way the tutor pro- 
nounced TAbbaye aux Homines,' and TAb- 
baye aux Dames'? What a hideous night that 
was!— it cost four dollars. And now, when all 
the architectural details would be so useful, I 
can't remember a thing the creature told us. 
Poor, dear Beau Brummel is buried in the 
cemetery at Caen— but we won't be sufficiently 
well dressed to warrant our visiting his grave. 
Then some day when we're at Dinard we'll go 


up the Ranee— another river. It's the best of 
all, I think. But then every one you see looks 
more like Corot and Daubigny and Claude 
Lorraine than the last." 

Our destination was really Dinard, as Berri 
was to meet his mother there. But she was off 
yachting somewhere, and as her return was 
rather uncertain Berri thought we had better 
not go there until we had to. Dinard, he said, 
was the kind of place that's full of tiresome 
people you haven't the slightest desire to 
know, but whom you simply must know if you 
go there at all for fear they might think you 

"My mother knows them all intimately, so 
we'll wait in less stupid places," Berri sug- 

The very little I saw of England was ex- 
tremely interesting and all that, but somehow 
you don't get the thoroughly "foreign feeling" 
until the little Channel boat almost abruptly 
stops plunging and tossing and begins to slip 
alongside the quays of Boulogne. There prob- 
ably isn't anything especially wonderful about 


Boulogne— at least the guide-book doesn't 
lead one to believe that there is. And yet from 
the deck of the steamer it was by far the most 
thrilling place I had ever seen. 

It seems rather absurd to write it down, but 
I couldn't help wondering for the first ten 
minutes why, with only a narrow strip of 
water between them, England should be so 
marvelously English and France so marvel- 
ously French. If the trip from Folkestone were 
a long one you wouldn't, perhaps, be so im- 
pressed by this; after you've been out of sight 
of land for more than a week you're not only 
prepared for something entirely different, but 
you more or less demand it. But the crossing 
from Folkestone took little more than an 
hour, and there wasn't, as far as I could see, 
a building, a tree, a man, woman or child in 
Boulogne that wouldn't have been out of 
place across the way. Even the weather, as 
Berri remarked, decided to observe the con- 
vention. For England had faded behind a cur- 
tain of gray rain, and France appeared light- 
colored and brilliant in the afternoon sun. 


How completely I forgot myself as I stood 
there watching the town grow more definite 
and French every moment! First, there was a 
broad beach covered with hundreds of little 
bathing machines— wardrobes on wheels they 
looked like. Crowds of bathers were jumping 
about in the surf and they waved to us as we 
steamed by. Above, on a terrace, there was a 
casino gay with flags; and behind it the 
weather-beaten town stretched along the river. 
It is the sort of town that makes you feel you 
could paint, if you only knew how to draw. 
There were rows of tall, narrow, steep-roofed, 
gabled houses of buff and blue and green and 
pink stucco, softened by the rain and salt air 
until they all went perfectly with one another 
and everything else. 

The boat glides past them, separated only 
by the quay and the street— a sort of stage 
where the entire population seemed to be 
gathering in a busy operatic fashion as if for 
a first act. There were fishermen mending 
nets, or stretching them to dry along the stone 
parapet; and there were groups of women— 



broad, massive, gesticulating. Berri said that 
they were fishwives— that all broad, massive 
and gesticulating women invariably are. And 
there were workmen with crimson sashes pil- 
ing cobblestones into a wagon, and sailors with 
deep collars of pale blue and rakish white 
duck caps with a little dab of bright red on 
top, just in the centre. There were boys in 
long, white aprons, carrying queer-shaped 
wooden platters under their arms — butcher 
boys, according to Berri; and boys all in white, 
with curious linen caps and their sleeves rolled 
up— baker boys. 

And there were soldiers— the slouchiest, 
most unmilitary-looking little creatures im- 
aginable, in absurdly loose red trousers and 
badly fitting blue jackets. (I didn't like them 
then, and I'm not exactly enthusiastic about 
them now, although I'm more used to them. 
But Berri says that before I leave 111 change 
my mind. "They haven't the style of English 
and German soldiers," he says; "they never 
look shaved, and their vast trouser-pockets, 
buttoned at the hip, are always bulging with 


all sorts of things— like a schoolboy's— which 
destroys even the slight military outline some 
of the taller ones might have in spite of the 
way their clothes hang. But they do look so in- 
telligent and comfortable." Privately, I've al- 
ways been of the opinion that it was a soldier's 
chief duty to look neither one nor the other of 
these things.) 

Then, too, there were ladies in light fluffy 
gowns and dapper little gentlemen who man- 
aged somehow to appear even more summery 
and ladylike than the ladies. 

I don't suppose that anything in particular 
was happening. The arrival of the Folkestone 
boat is too frequent an occurrence to produce 
any excitement; and yet there was an anima- 
tion, a pleasant, cheerful, human vivacity 
about the scene (Berri says that in French 
towns you always think a band is playing 
whether one is or not) that at home is induced 
only by, say, a circus parade or a bright Easter 
morning, and that in England, from all ac- 
counts, is never induced at all. 

It would be interesting to know just why 


the average— (I was going to write "tourist"— 
but somehow you always balk when it comes 
to calling yourself a tourist. A tourist is invari- 
ably some one else)— it would be interesting to 
know, then, just why the average "traveler" 
always gets this distinctly allegro impression 
of France— or rather, just why France is peren- 
nially able to give it to him. We've been in the 
country for some time now, and although my 
intelligence tells me that life here is made up 
of the good and bad, the rich and poor, the 
well and sick, the energetic and idle, just as it 
is at home— and that for this reason there is 
probably as much unhappiness here as there 
is anywhere else— the general effect, as a rule, 
is more inspiriting and satisfactory. 

I got to thinking of these things, because the 
other evening at Rouen, when we were sitting 
at a little round table listening to the orches- 
tra in front of one of the great cafes down by 
the Seine, I happened to notice critically for 
the first time the crowd on the sidewalk. It 
was made up of laborers with their wives and 
children, stokers from the freight boats and 



porters from the docks. The crude electric 
lights of the cafe brought out all the details of 
their grimy clothes and their pale, dull, sad 
faces— the faces of people everywhere who do 
the work that ought to be done by beasts and 
machinery, who do it on bad food, and who, 
above all, know somewhere down deep that 
until they die they're never going to do any- 
thing else. 

Then, the next afternoon I think it was (we 
were still at Rouen), while Berri and I were 
taking a walk we heard a sudden, strange 
sound in the distance— a burst of voices rising 
in mingled anger and exultation. Down the 
narrow street four mounted soldiers came clat- 
tering, their accoutrements ablaze in the sun- 
light, their black horsetail plumes spreading 
in the breeze. Behind them, a long, brown, 
evil-looking, boxed-up omnibus thing rum- 
bled over the stones. This was followed by 
four more glittering soldiers and a vindic- 
tive, yelling, fist-shaking mob that gradually 
dropped behind and dispersed as the Black 
Maria and its escort increased their speed. 



"It must be a condamnation a mort" said 
Berri as we turned to watch the dramatic little 
procession descend the hill. And just as he 
said it the street began to resound with the 
hoarse voices of the men who sell newspapers, 
crying: "Condamnation a mort — vient de pa- 
raitre! Condamnation a mort!" 

Berri bought one of the extras— a broad, 
moist sheet printed only on one side— and read 
the headlines. It was a squalid little tragedy, 
and the man most concerned in it had just 
been sentenced in the Cour d'Assises. While 
Berri stood translating a paragraph here and 
there I watched the horrible wagon sway across 
the bridge in a cloud of golden dust, and pic- 
tured the wretch huddled inside — his ears 
throbbing to the deep bay of the newspaper 
men and the howls of the mob. 

It was these things that made me wonder 
why you are so inclined to consider France as 
pitched in one continuously inspiriting key. 
Perhaps it's just as well not to scrutinize 
faces under an electric light, nor to visit towns 
when the Cour d'Assises is in session. 


One great new truth has recently made itself 
clear to me, and that is: France is the very best 
place in the world in which to learn French. 
You learn more here in an hour than you do 
in a month at school or college; and the reason 
isn't so much because you hear it everywhere 
as because when you're trying to talk it you 
haven't the feeling that you're playing at some- 
thing—keeping up an elaborate and somewhat 
painful pretense. In the places we've been to — 
Amiens, Beauvais and Rouen— we haven't 
come across any one who spoke English. So, 
when I talk, which I have to do when Berri 
isn't present, I know that I'm doing something 
real— that is to say, my necessity is real, not 
my French. My French is awful, and it never 
seems so bad as it does when I listen to Berri. 
He speaks so flexibly and perfectly— always 
choosing his words and constructions to fit his 
ideas. My ideas have to be very carefully se- 


lected to fit my words. I've even heard Berri 
get extremely angry in French; and when a 
person can forget his dignity in a foreign lan- 
guage, without at the same time forgetting his 
accent and grammar, it means that he's ar- 
rived. But I'm improving. I'll never again, for 
instance, say— as I did to the proprietress of 
the hotel at Amiens on arriving: "Nous avons 
dine sur le train!" She had a strained, queer 
look about her mouth for a moment, and Berri 

"I wish we had," he declared: "it wouldn't 
have been nearly so stuffy as it was inside. Now 
don't blame that poor dame for gulping down 
a laugh. She really couldn't help thinking how 
funny we must have looked eating our dinner 
on the roof of the express train from Boulogne 
—which is precisely what you told her we 

Then if I ever go to Beauvais again I prob- 
ably shan't spend the better part of the morn- 
ing asking where the government cake manu- 
factory is when I wish to find the government 
establishment for making tapestry. Berri had 


gone through the works and didn't care to do 
it again, so I started out alone. He showed me 
the street to take and told me how to ask for 
the place in case I couldn't discover it un- 
aided—which I very soon found I couldn't. 
The intelligent-looking young shoemaker on 
whom I first sprung Berri's phrase most oblig- 
ingly left his bench, walked with me for half 
a block (he asked me if the weather in England 
was as hot as it was in France) and pushed open 
the door of a little shop. I was so intent on 
bowing and smiling as politely as he did that I 
didn't notice until he left me that the place 
wasn't a manufactory of tapestry at all, but a 
cake-shop with all sorts of little iced and jel- 
lied things on the counter. They looked so de- 
licious that I didn't let the woman who had 
come to wait on me know I had made a mis- 
take and departed with a franc's worth— a 
great many more than I wanted. 

I've learned from Berri and from watching 
French people how to behave myself in shops 
here when women wait on you. The Anglo- 
Saxon, Berri says, usually manages to give the 


impression in France that he is a perfectly 
mannerless person even when his feelings are 
most kindly; so it's rather nice to know that 
you should lift your hat and say "Bonjour, ma- 
dame," when you go in and come away, and 
that while your parcel is being wrapped up 
you ought to make a few remarks on la chaleur 
eff ray ante. 

Well, I went into the street again, ate a few 
of my cakes as I strolled away, and finally asked 
a commissionnaire with a brass tag on his cap 
to direct me to the tapestry place. He said to 
walk along with him and we'd come to one in 
a minute— which puzzled me a little, as I 
didn't think there could possibly be two. 
There didn't seem to be even one; for after 
walking a short distance he suddenly stopped, 
opened a door that set a frantic little bell jin- 
gling, and I found myself on the threshold of 
another bakery. Of course I didn't have the 
courage to go away, for the bell had sum- 
moned from an inner room a lady who was 
very old, very lame, and apparently very glad 
to see me. She said she hadn't known the heat 


to be so intense since the summer just before 
the Franco-Prussian War when her second 
husband had attrape un coup de soleil. This 
naturally introduced the Franco-Prussian 
War; and when an aged, one-toothed elocu- 
tionist describes with much tremulous power 
the extermination of all her male relatives you 
end by acquiring enough pastry to satisfy a 
boarding-school. The next person of whom I 
inquired my way was a policeman. I couldn't 
see exactly why he should be so perfectly de- 
lighted at my desire to see a manufactory of 
tapestry until he told me as we hurried around 
the corner that his sister had just opened one. 
He introduced me to his sister (she baked 
cakes, of course; I felt that she did from the 
first), and as nothing on the counter was good 
enough for so distinguished and unexpected a 
customer as myself, I had to wait until a slab 
of sponge cake was brought up fresh and hot 
from the oven. I left, promising to tell every- 
body in England and America that she made 
the best cakes in France. 

"How did you like the tapisserie?" Berri 


asked when I climbed up to our room. "Good 
Heavens! — you've developed a sudden and 
consuming passion for patisserie, anyhow," he 
added, as I hurled my three bundles at him 
and sank into a chair. 

Patisserie, tapisserie; patisserie, tapisserie — 
even when you know the difference you can 
hardly tell it after you've said the wretched 
words over several times. But that's another 
mistake I'll never make again. 

I don't see why all these provincial French 
towns— so near together— should be so agree- 
ably different from one another. And yet they 
are. Aside from their "sights," every one has 
its own special way of endearing itself to you. 
The great sight at Amiens is, of course, the 
magnificent cathedral. But the charm of the 
place lies in the fact that it is so exactly what 
you have always thought a provincial town in 
France would be like. Berri induced me to 
read a lot of Balzac (translated) last year, and 
although Balzac perhaps never wrote a word 
about Amiens, I kept thinking all the time, 
as we strolled through the flat, hot streets 


whose mere names are chronicles of religion 
and history, of his detailed and interminable 
descriptions of streets just like them. So many 
of them have the splendidly dull and ostenta- 
tious respectability that he hated— and knew 
so well how to make his readers feel. 

Beauvais, on the other hand, hasn't this air 
at all. It's a lively little place, with the narrow- 
est, crookedest streets and harmlessly crazy old 
houses with wooden beams appearing through 
the plaster I ever dreamed of. And it's all built 
about a great square with a statue of Jeanne 
Hachette in the centre— Jeanne being a lady 
who distinguished herself in 1472 by taking a 
banner away from Charles the Bold and his 
army of eighty thousand men. 

The cathedral (we used to wander through 
it several times a day) is certainly very beauti- 
ful in spite of the fact that money ran out be- 
fore it was finished, and that it has had to re- 
main an inspired fragment. What there is of 
it, however, is just my idea of what a Gothic 
cathedral should look like. In the flourishing 
language of the guide-book, "its proportions 


are gigantic to the verge of temerity," and it is 
so exquisitely fragile and lacy that one won- 
ders how it remains at all. 

We stayed at little Beauvais for four days, 
although beyond the cathedral and the tapes- 
try works there isn't much in the way of sights 
to see there. The tapestry works I succeeded in 
visiting finally, and at one time I regretted 
more than I can say that I had succeeded, 
for it was my remarks on the subject — at 
least a week later— that led to my fight with 

We were spending the day at Caen on our 
way to Avranches, in Normandy, and I began 
to discourse on the manufacture of Beauvais 
tapestry. The weavers begin to learn the art 
when they are very young — mere boys. It takes 
years and years to become a skilled workman, 
and many find out that they haven't a sufficient 
manual dexterity and sense of color to master 
the craft— and give it up. Now, I said to Berri 
that I couldn't understand why a man who 
possessed the really marvelous delicacy of eye 
and skill of hand necessary to a weaver of tap- 


estry didn't try instead to become a creator 
of original things; for in tapestry, of course, he 
only copies famous paintings and designs. 
Whereupon Berri jumped on me and told me 
that was my hopelessly American way of look- 
ing at it; that I was cursed with the national 
inability to regard a trade perfectly mastered 
in the light of a fine art, and that I evidently 
preferred bad paintings to faultless tapestry 
merely because they enabled people to dis- 
play their worthless individuality. It was a 
warm day. Berri was distinctly irritating— and 
we had "words." I ended by saying that his at- 
titude toward pretty much everything was of- 
fensive—that he was neither a good French- 
man nor a good American. Then all words 
ceased— which was even worse than having 
them. We walked silently for a time, and at 
last Berri said stiffly: 

"I am going to take the five o'clock train 
for Avranches. You can do as you like." 

What I happened to like just then was soli- 
tude; so I turned in the other direction and 
left him. It was just three in the afternoon. I 



had all at once lost my interest in Caen, and 
when I found myself in a shady park after an 
aimless walk I sat down to think. My medita- 
tions left me with a great desire to find Berri 
at the railway station, grab him by the hand 
and go on to Avranches with him. But when 
I reached the station I discovered that I had 
exactly twenty-five centimes in my pocket and 
that I couldn't go out on the platform without 
a ticket. Berri had evidently arrived before me 
and got into the train. Well, I was alone in an 
unfamiliar French town. My money was in the 
trunk that Berri and I shared, and he had no 
doubt taken it along with him. I had packed 
in it all but a little change, as I was wearing 
an unlined flannel suit without an inside 
pocket. Even if I had known where Berri was 
going to stay at Avranches I didn't have money 
enough to send a telegram. Night was coming 
on. I couldn't return to a friendly hotel, as we 
had been merely spending the day at Caen and 
hadn't gone to a hotel at all. 

The problem was not only a dreary one, it 
was rather terrifying. 



I've often wondered since, precisely what I 
should have done when I found myself de- 
serted and penniless, if the necessity for doing 
at all had not been in the most unexpected way 
possible suddenly removed. I strolled dis- 
tractedly up and down in the station— peering 
over the long counter in front of the place 
where they weigh the luggage (it seemed just 
possible that pride might have prevented 
Berri from taking our trunk with him) and 
staring at the comic papers and yellow-covered 
novels on the bookstall. But I was quite un- 
able to evolve a plan for dinner, a night's lodg- 
ing and a telegram to Berri at a cost of twenty- 
five centimes. An evening call on the Ameri- 
can consul suggested itself for a moment; but 
the memory of Uncle Peter's anecdotes of his 
experience as consul in a small German town 
when he was a young man deterred me. So 



many people turn up at consulates with hard- 
luck stories that I dreaded to meet the skepti- 
cal eye of some disappointed politician who 
had had financial relations with plausible 
young men once too often. Besides, the tale I 
had to tell became more and more idiotic the 
longer I thought of it. No, I simply couldn't 
bring myself to seek protection under the flag. 
In talking the matter over afterward with 
Berri, he said my proper course was to have 
gone to the best hotel in the town, taken the 
largest and most expensive room, complained 
that it wasn't nearly good enough, ordered an 
elaborate dinner, "jollied" the landlord, flat- 
tered his wife, sent as many telegrams as I 
pleased to all the inns at Avranches, and— with 
the air of one who cannot bother about such 
trifles— told the concierge to pay for them. But 
then, Berri has had experience. I probably 
should have dined on a chunk of black bread 
and a glass of milk at a creamery and ended 
by being arrested for sleeping under a hedge 
in the park, if all at once— but I'm going too 



Just as I was about to leave the station and 
wander aimlessly back to the town, a cab came 
rattling up to the curbstone. Out of it jumped 
a pudgy man with a ponderous leather bag in 
one hand and a camera in the other. He had on 
dingy gray clothes— very baggy at the knees— 
gold-rimmed spectacles and a straw hat much 
too large for him that sort of hung down be- 
hind and gave his round, red face the appear- 
ance of an inquiring moon. He lumbered into 
the station, looked up at the clock, apparently 
saw that he had missed his train, dropped his 
bag on the floor and, with an air of resigna- 
tion, began to dry his forehead on his handker- 
chief. For a second I couldn't remember where 
I had seen him before; then suddenly it came 
to me and I rushed over and put my hand on 
his arm. For it was Guppy! If any one had told 
me on the ship that but a few weeks would 
pass before I should be about as pleased to see 
Guppy as I had ever been to see anybody, I 
should have— well, I should probably have re- 
ferred him to Berri. And here I was, clutching 
Guppy by the arm and exclaiming: "Well, 



Guppy— this certainly is delightful!" It really 
was, you know. Heavens— how glad I was that 
I hadn't been cool to him the way Berri was. 
His big face loomed cheerfully at me like a 
pie-crust, and with positive emotion he said: 

'Tour name will come to me in a minute — 
of course, I remember perfectly that you are 
number twenty-six and your handsome friend 
Berrisford was number twenty-seven. Let me 
see— I can no doubt recall it by my memory 
system." He closed his eyes and squeezed my 
hand convulsively while the system began la- 
boriously to creak somewhere under his wob- 
bling hat. 

"I'm on the track of it; I'm chasing it," he 
declared nervously. "I've begun to sequestrate 
it among— among— among, yes— among the 
substances. This is splendid. By Jove— I've 
got it among the building materials now and 
it's— and it's— just a moment; keep perfectly 
still or you'll throw me out and I'll have to be- 
gin all over again. Ah, I have it— it's Stone!" 
He opened his eyes and beamed at me with re- 
lief and satisfaction. 



"Well, that's almost it," I answered en- 
couragingly, "but not quite. I think your sys- 
tem is perfectly wonderful." (I really did.) "It 
makes me feel somehow as if my name ought 
to be Stone — only it's Wood." But Guppy 
didn't seem in the least disappointed, for, as 
he explained to me as we walked arm in arm 
out of the station and hailed a cab, the princi- 
ple of the thing was perfect even if you made 
slight errors now and then in working it out. 

Berri refused to believe that I was as glad 
to see Guppy "as such," and asserted that a 
twenty-franc gold piece on the sidewalk would 
have been every bit as soul-stirring; but then, 
he added that it was just as well I came across 
him as there wasn't, of course, any snow on the 
ground, and nobody was ever known to find a 
gold piece except in the snow. This statement, 
as far as I can remember, is correct. But he 
wasn't correct in saying that my pleasure in 
meeting Guppy was purely financial. Guppy 
is rather grotesque, and I didn't care for him 
particularly in a crowd, because I was continu- 
ally oppressed by the knowledge that no one 



else wanted to have him around. All alone, 
however, I not only don't mind him, I find him 
almost interesting. He's appreciative and takes 
beautiful photographs, and has a refreshing 
way of regarding everything in his travels— 
however uncomfortable— as part of the game. 
Then, too, I never can help being glad to see 
a person who is genuinely glad to see me. 
(Berri thinks this is vain and weak on my part; 
perhaps it is.) Guppy was charmed to meet an 
"old friend" as he called me, for he had been 
alone ever since we left the ship. He said 
though, rather wistfully, that he was used to 
being alone a good deal as people for some 
reason or other never seemed to want to go to 
the same places he was going to. After that, I 
didn't have the heart to refrain from suggest- 
ing that he had better go to Avranches that 
evening with me; and although he was really 
on his way to Granville, he changed his plans. 
The thought of Berri's expression when he 
should see me arriving with Guppy in tow 
made me laugh. 

At home we think nothing of six hours in 


the train; but in France one comes to consider 
it a long journey. There were no express trains 
between Caen and Avranches — nothing but 
what they call trains omnibus, that always be- 
gin to slow up for the next station before they 
get well under way after leaving the last. Ours 
was full of country people— the women in neat 
black dresses and frilled white linen caps with 
the strings tied in a stiff, starched bow under 
the chin. The men wore blouses and straw 
hats— very much like Guppy's. Then there 
were priests and soldiers, and sailors who were 
probably going to visit their families after a 
long voyage. One of them had a little monkey 
perched on his shoulder and another was car- 
rying a curious Japanese box of black and gold 
lacquer. They made me feel as if I were read- 
ing a book by Pierre Loti. The French soldiers 
always look so dowdy, whereas the sailors are 
the neatest, cleanest, handsomest chaps im- 
aginable. We had to change cars three times 
between seven in the evening and one in the 
morning, so Guppy and I, while we strolled 
up and down the platforms waiting for our 


various trains, had plenty of leisure in which 
to listen to the talk of all these people and 
watch the meetings and partings of families, 
sweethearts and friends. The soldiers have a 
funny little way of walking along hand in 
hand— which made me realize how Anglo- 
Saxon I am, for when I first saw it it embar- 
rassed me. 

We reached Avranches in a pouring rain at 
one in the morning. Guppy and I and another 
man and a woman were the only ones to get 
out there. It was cold and black, and when we 
inquired of the gateman who took our tickets 
how to get to the Hotel de Londres (the hotel 
mentioned first in Guppy's guide-book) he ex- 
claimed dramatically, as if he were a herald 
announcing the death of a monarch: 

"L' Hotel de Londres n'existe plus!" He 
then went on in the pleasant French way to 
tell us when it had failed and just why. The 
woman didn't agree with several of his details, 
and, after giving her version of the affair, ap- 
pealed to some of the station employes, who 
tactfully attributed the inn's demise to a vari- 


ety of vague causes hitherto unmentioned— 
one of them being the Boer War. It was all 
very polite and charming, but Guppy and I 
were rapidly getting wet to the skin and falling 
asleep on our feet. At last, when everybody 
had had his say, and the ticket man had, for 
good and all, disposed of the matter with a 
shrug and a proverb, we were told that there 
was a little vehicle of some kind waiting out- 
side to take us either to the Hotel d'Angleterre 
or the Hotel de France — either of which was 
just as good as the one that had failed. 

With characteristic French thrift the driver 
had put out his lamps while waiting for the 
train and it took at least half a box of matches 
to light them again. During the drive up the 
steep, interminable hill to the town I found 
myself speculating in a state of semi-conscious- 
ness as to whether it wouldn't have been as 
economical in the end to have let the lamps 
burn and saved the matches. Guppy and I 
were too sleepy to talk much, but the woman 
and the man opposite, who, apparently, were 
perfect strangers to each other, chattered all 


the way up as if it were ten in the morning in- 
stead of half past one. He was visiting Av- 
ranches for the first time, and she discoursed 
on its charms — "Une petite ville tout a fait co- 
quette/' I believe she called it. There was a 
good Ursuline convent and a fine school for 
boys, she said, that in times gone by had at- 
tracted many English families; but a local Na- 
poleon of finance had bought up all the best 
villas and raised the rents, and now the town 
was no longer popular. I thought, of course, 
that the man she was talking to was a French- 
man—he spoke just as if he were—but when 
the omnibus suddenly stopped after a deafen- 
ing rattle over cobblestones, and we had to 
decide where we were going, he asked us in 
English if we knew anything about the hotels. 
His English was perfect— so perfect, in fact, 
that it had no accent whatever and I couldn't 
tell his nationality. It was just a pleasant voice 
out of the darkness speaking English in the 
abstract— which had never happened to me 
before. As a rule people speak unmistakable 


King's English, or President's English, but 
rarely just English. Berri solved the hotel 
problem for us, for when we got out of the 
omnibus (the two hotels faced each other) he 
was silhouetted against a yellow oblong one 
flight up and called softly down to me: 

"Hello, Granny!— welcome home." I knew 
then that he didn't feel offended any more and 
was glad to have me back again. He had en- 
gaged a room for me that opened into his and 
had something to eat waiting for me when I 
arrived. In fact, his state of mind was so alto- 
gether angelic that even the news of Guppy— 
to whom I had craftily said good-night before 
going upstairs— merely made him laugh. 

We've been at Avranches for more than two 
weeks now, and although we shall probably 
leave within a day or two I feel as if we were 
settled here for the rest of our lives. Berri came 
in the first place to renew his childhood; he 
went for two years to the school the woman in 
the omnibus mentioned, and was full of senti- 
mental longings to see it again. Avranches is 



a cozy, funny little town that seems to have 
been just left a long time ago on the top of a 
high, steep hill and never called for. 

In a letter I had from Mildred the other 
day she asked— I admit the question was nat- 
ural—what Berri and I found to do for so long 
in a stupid little place like this; for I had told 
her that beyond the beautiful, misty views 
there were no sights, no theatres, no big cafes 
with music, no casino to loaf in and no gay 
people to look at— nothing, in fact, but a col- 
lection of narrow streets clinging to a hilltop, 
an avenue of trees like the nave of a cathedral 
in the Archbishop's garden, and the fields and 
orchards of the surrounding country. Perhaps 
I shouldn't stay very long if I were alone; 
everybody goes to bed at about ten o'clock, 
and you soon begin to have a feeling that the 
big world is exceedingly far away and not, 
after all, of much importance. But with Berri 
and Armington and Guppy, I've found plenty 
to do and like it. 

Armington is the fellow who arrived with 
us in the omnibus and mystified me with his 


English. While we were having breakfast un- 
der an awning in the courtyard of the hotel 
the next morning he strolled past and lifted 
his hat. Berri said that although the hat was 
English and the clothes were English, the fel- 
low himself was French because his shoes 
were. Berri has heretofore considered this the 
final test of a person's nationality. There is a 
little difference in the shape of French shoes, 
that though it can't be described exactly is 
unmistakable. Almost no English-speaking 
people wear them. Well, Berri's young 
Frenchman turned out to be an American 
who has been studying archaeology in Paris 
for five years. That is to say, he spends most 
of his time in Paris, but runs over to Athens 
now and then in the summer. We've been 
seeing a great deal of him. He's writing a book 
on archaeology and came down to Avranches 
to get away from it, as he had reached a chap- 
ter where he couldn't go on without saying 
something definite about a handful of little 
bronze implements he had once dug out of a 
Greek tomb, and his inability to make up his 


mind about them had broken him down. 
After carrying the wretched things around in 
his pocket for more than two years, he had 
become convinced that they were either meat 
skewers or safety-pins— which was encourag- 
ing as far as it went; but now the supreme 
moment had arrived for making an ultimate 
decision and he had fled from Paris on the 
verge of madness. He has given one of the 
little things to me for a few days, thinking 
that perhaps I may have an inspiration. Some- 
times it's just too skewery for anything, and 
then again it is so obviously a safety-pin that 
it seems as if any baby must recognize it. Yet, 
I can't decide the matter once and for all any 
more than Armington can. I'm going to give 
him back his "skewpin" (he calls them that, 
just to be impartial), for it has begun to make 
me absent-minded by day and restless at night. 
Armington, however, isn't all archaeology; 
he's one of the most agreeable persons I know. 
In fact, it's a great advantage to be in France 
with him and Berri. They both know the 
country so well and get into so many long 


discussions about it that you can't help ac- 
quiring a different point of view from the 
conventional one you would have if you saw 
things from the outside. 

It is on account of Berri and Armington, 
of course, that we have become so chummy 
with Madame Honfleur and her three daugh- 
ters, who keep our hotel; and they are charm- 
ing. If I didn't know that we were going to 
pay a bill when we leave, I should think we 
were visiting them. 

' 'Where on earth, except in France, would 
you find— could you find four women (or even 
one), like Madame Honfleur and her daugh- 
ters, keeping a village hotel?" Berri demanded 
the other day after we had been having tea 
with the family in the courtyard. (By the way, 
I have always heard that French people drank 
tea only when they were ill. This isn't true.) 
"I've not been to Perugia, Wisconsin, Granny, 
but I bet you never sipped tea and discussed 
Gothic architecture with the slattern who 
runs the eating joint there, while one of her 
daughters near-by embroidered a white satin 



altar cloth for the new church on the hill, and 
another played Chopin in the adjoining salon. 
Now that's the French of it. Old Honfleur 
isn't in the hotel business for her amusement, 
you know; she's there to make it pay. She's up 
in all the little tricks of her trade and prac- 
tices every one of the incredible French econ- 
omies. The bedroom candles — perhaps you've 
noticed — are all hollow, and the left-over riz 
de veau of luncheon today is sure to be the 
pate a la Toulousaine of dinner tomorrow. 
She has the nerve also to print 'English 
spoken' in her advertisements — when there 
isn't a word of English on the premises, with 
the exception of that preposterous notice in 
my room." The notice Berri referred to in- 
forms one that 




"It was she, too, who evolved the scheme 
for enticing the homeless automobile; little 
Auguste told me so. And yet— and yet— isn't 


she delightful? Wouldn't she and Jeanne and 
Henriette and Leonie make themselves alto- 
gether charming anywhere?" 

I can't help feeling that they really would. 
Madame's attitude toward the automobile 
situation illustrates exactly what Berri means. 

The Hotel de Londres is mentioned first 
in the guide-books, and the autos on their way 
from Coutances to Mont-Saint-Michel, not 
knowing that it "n'existe plus," always try to 
go there. It occurred to Madame Honfleur 
that instead of allowing fate to decide which 
should come to her and which should go to 
her deadly rival — the Hotel de France — across 
the way, she might just as well have them all. 
So early one morning she sent Auguste — the 
little boy who helps in the dining-room — a 
mile or two down the highway to inform the 
hungry chauffeurs that there was but one pos- 
sible hotel in Avranches, and that its name 
was the Hotel d'Angleterre. Now, Auguste is 
just twelve years old and he has the face of a 
cherub on a Christmas card. That morning he 
was wearing a particularly snowy apron and a 



new pair of white cotton gloves which Ma- 
dame adjured him not to put on until he 
heard the tuf-tuf of a gasoline engine in the 
distance. So altogether it was not surprising 
that later in the day the courtyard and the 
garage should be too small to contain all the 
automobiles stopping at the hotel for lunch- 

At dinner there was another crush. Madame 
put on a black silk waist and ordered Paul the 
waiter to light the tall lamp-post in the centre 
of the court; we knew then that prosperity 
was nearing a climax. The second day was 
even as the first, but on the third day, Mon- 
sieur Isidore Blin, of the Hotel de France, 
came to his senses and subsidized Sosthene— a 
persuasive cherub of his own. It was then that 
matters began to be infinitely more exciting 
than when the Honfleurs had everything their 
own way. For now, when we hear a puffing 
and rattling on the hillside, there are several 
minutes of awful suspense before two fat 
wheels round the corner and we see either our 
Auguste or Monsieur Blin's Sosthene— cling- 


ing triumphantly to the step. Chambermaids 
leave their work and rush to the windows; the 
commercial travelers in the cafe downstairs 
jump up and run to the door; even the cook 
dashes out of the kitchen with a copper 
saucepan in his hand. Madame alone is quite 
calm under the strain. She wouldn't go to the 
edge of the sidewalk and peer down the nar- 
row street for anything. These financial flur- 
ries are apparently nothing to her. If the auto 
turns sharply to the right, she is standing 
ready to receive it with a series of gracious 
bows and smiles, and ejaculations over the 
dust or the heat or the rain, or whatever the 
nature of the day demands. But if it turns to 
the left she exclaims indifferently: "Poor little 
Auguste— it will disappoint him— he is so in- 
terested!" As Berri says, she knows the tricks 
of her trade, but from nothing she says or does 
would you ever suspect it; and it seems rather 
crude, when you see her and the girls flitting 
about in their dressy mourning, to phrase it 
in just that way. 

When Berri's old school had its graduating 



exercises we all went, of course. It is a great 
occasion for Avranches. We waited in the 
square with a crowd of proud mothers and 
fathers, big brothers and sisters— all in their 
very best clothes— until the procession came 
down the main street from the school to the 
Hotel de Ville. It was very French and funny 
and nice. First there were two buglers and a 
drummer; then the village fire department in 
gorgeous uniforms that didn't fit. (They re- 
minded me of the Governor's staff at home.) 
After them came the faculty in black silk 
gowns trimmed with red silk and ermine. The 
village functionaries in dress suits and high 
hats strutted along in their wake, and last of 
all came the boys — the little ones with half- 
hose and bare legs first, the bigger ones, about 
to graduate, bringing up the rear. As we 
crowded into a big room on the top floor of 
the Hotel de Ville the village band brayed out 
the Marseillaise. After that there were two 
addresses— one by a member of the faculty 
and one by a great professor who had gone to 
the school when he was a boy and had come 


down from Paris for the day. They both spoke 
such distinct, beautiful French that I under- 
stood almost everything they said— and what 
they said was surprisingly broad and sensible 
and fine; surprising to me, I mean, because I 
had taken it for granted that a speech by a 
Frenchman would be all fireworks and la 
patrie. (Berri and Armington merely gave 
me a pitying glance when I told them this.) 
After the speeches we had the Marseillaise 
again. Then the prizes were given out — un- 
wieldy books bound in bright red or green 
cloth brilliantly gilded. 

After the prizes had been awarded there 
was a tremendous amount of kissing on both 
cheeks. Armington and Guppy and I left 
Berri in the thick of it as he was going to 
lunch with some of the masters. Later in the 
afternoon he came to the hotel to get us, say- 
ing that he would show us the most beautiful 
part of it all. We strolled up the main street, 
and very soon around the corner the drummer 
and the two buglers came marching as if they 
were a whole regiment. They stopped in front 



of a house, right-about-faced and gave a grand 
fanfare. Whereupon the door opened and 
monsieur le pere came out with some money, 
and little Jules, who had won a prize, bowed 
and smiled from the window. Berri says that 
they go to the houses of all the boys who have 
won prizes— that they went even to his house. 
Another occasion for little Avranches is the 
day of the horse-races. There's a fine course in 
a great meadow at the foot of the hill— the only 
pretty one I've ever seen, with the exception 
of a track at a country club near Boston. Why 
is it that as a rule race-tracks are so hideous? 
The races weren't exciting exactly, but the 
event brought out an overpowering array of 
counts and countesses and marquises from 
the chateaux in the neighborhood. The 
crowd, I think, was much more interested in 
them and their Parisian finery (the ladies cer- 
tainly did look very lovely strolling about the 
fresh, green turf) than they were in the races. 
At the end there was a scramble up the foot- 
path to the town to be in time to see the no- 


bility clatter through the main street— back to 
their fortresses. 

Every evening we gossip in the courtyard 
with Madame and her daughters (they are 
perpetually embroidering or crocheting) or 
with some of the queer people who happen 
to be staying at the hotel. Berri made the 
acquaintance of a French lady the other eve- 
ning who, in the course of their conversation, 
smoked most of his cigarettes and told him 
among other things that she was sixty-four 
years old. At this Berri exclaimed: "Incroy- 
able, Madame!" and immediately set her 
down as eighty-five. For— as he told me after- 
ward — when a French woman admits to sixty- 
four she can't be much under ninety. She 
spoke Russian and Spanish and Italian per- 
fectly, she said, but no English. She had once 
taken some lessons in English, but hadn't 
learned anything except the words for tuning- 
fork and pickle-dish (which she pronounced 
"dickle-pish"), and didn't find them very 



I suppose that we must soon leave this 
peaceful little place with its views and its gar- 
dens, its narrow vine-hung streets, its steep 
hills up which the patient donkeys toddle un- 
der their vegetable panniers, its drowsy fields 
full of birds by day and glow-worms by night. 
We should have gone before now, I think, if 
it hadn't been for Guppy. Berri has been 
amiability itself since Guppy and I arrived — 
but he declares that he simply won't have him 
with us at Mont-Saint-Michel. Frankly, I 
don't see how we can avoid it; Guppy has 
photographed everything in the neighbor- 
hood and I'm sure he'll want to leave when 
we do. I refuse to hurt his feelings, after his 
rescuing me that evening at Caen. Berri as- 
serts that it won't be necessary to hurt his 
feelings— that, in fact, he has a plan (he won't 
tell me what it is) by which we'll both shake 
Guppy and flatter him immensely. "But it 
will take a day or two to get him into the 
proper mood," he added. I think Berri must 
have begun to manipulate Guppy's mood this 
afternoon, as he hired two bicycles and invited 


Guppy to take a long ride with him. There's 
another thing that Berri won't tell me. He 
read my diary the other day (he grabbed it out 
of my hands and ran away with it) and says 
that it possesses one very remarkable trait. He 
has read a number of European diaries, he 
says, but he never came across one that in this 
mysterious respect was like mine. 

"Of course I shan't let you know what it is 
until you reach the end," he answered when 
I implored him to tell me, "because I don't 
think you can possibly keep it up — or rather, 
keep it out— very much longer." This is even 
more maddening than Armington's skewpins. 

We finally tore ourselves away from 
Avranches. Madame and her daughters, Paul 
the waiter, Auguste the auto-chaser, two of 
the masters from Berri's school, Armington 
and Guppy were in the courtyard to say 
good-by to us. There was no end of hand- 
shaking, French compliments and promises to 
come back next summer if possible, and it was 
all very genial and friendly. 

Guppy's good-by filled me with curiosity. 


He put worlds of earnest, hidden meaning into 
his final handshake and murmured hurriedly, 
close to my ear: 

"Don't worry, old man. I've promised 
Berrisford to do everything I can. As a matter 
of fact, I'm interested in the case; but even if 
I weren't I'd do anything in my power to 
keep you and Berri from worrying over this 
matter." Not knowing in the least what Berri 
had put him up to on their bicycle ride two 
days before, I simply looked deeply grateful 
—as one does when a person seems so obliging 
— and pressed his hand in return. 

"How on earth did you induce Guppy to 
stay at Avranches without us?" I demanded 
as Berri and I swung along the narrow path 
to the station. "I didn't induce him; he in- 
duced himself," Berri declared. 

"But you told him something," I pursued. 
"You extracted a promise of some kind from 
him— because he referred to it just as we were 
leaving and made me feel as if we were under 
deep obligations to him." 


"I extracted nothing whatever," Berri an- 
swered. "He did make promises, but they were 
just as voluntary— why, I couldn't begin to 
tell you how voluntary they were. All I did 
was to muse a little— out loud, of course— on 
my hopes and fears." 

"Your hopes and fears! I didn't know you 
had any." 

"Why, Granny, I suppose I'm one of the 
most hopeful, fearful things in the whole of 

"Now, Berri— own up. What did you tell 
that poor, trusting creature?" 

"You're so suspicious, Granny. I didn't tell 
him anything. We were lying down in the 
shade of some pine trees near that ugly pink 
chateau on the road to Villedieu and I merely 
exclaimed with my eyes closed: 'Well, well- 
it's too bad.' " 

"What was?" 

"That's what Guppy wanted to know." 

"And then you told him. I knew you'd told 
him something." 



"I didn't at all. I simply asked him if he 
didn't think it was. I didn't say that I thought 

"Thought what?" I insisted. 

"Why, that it was a shame Armington had 
studied so hard— slaved over his useless little 
'skewpins' or whatever he calls them, and got 
all worried and nervous and run down." 

"Did he believe it was a shame?" 

"Well, rather. It hadn't occurred to him 
before particularly— the full force of it seemed 
to come over him all at once while we were 
stretched out there under the trees. Then I 
asked him if he didn't think something ought 
to be done about it, and wouldn't it be sad if 
poor Armington, friendless and alone, with 
his family three or four thousand miles away, 
should become quite unhinged and undertake 
to gather coquelicots on the railway track or 
go for a constitutional across the quicksands 
at low tide." 

"Anything like that would be sad," I de- 

"Why, of course it would," Berri answered. 


"Guppy thought it would be simply awful 
and asked me if I thought there was any like- 
lihood of its happening." 

''What did you say then?" 

"Oh, I said that I hoped not; but that in 
this vale of tears one could never be sure of 
anything. Then I added that you and I re- 
gretted so having to leave Armington. We do, 
you know— I've heard you say so." 

"Of course I do; but it isn't because I'm 
afraid he's dotty. He's one of the sanest per- 
sons I know." 

"Well, I didn't tell Guppy why you were 
sorry. How did I know? You never told me; 
you merely said that you were." 

"Oh, Berri!" 

"Then he asked me why we had to go, and 
I told him that I had promised to meet my 
mother at Dinard. Now, don't I— don't I?" 
Berri hastened to demand. "Aren't we going 
to Dinard?" 

"Yes— but we're going to stop at Mont- 
Saint-Michel first." 

"Oh, well— you don't have to tell people 


everything," Berri shrugged. "Dear me, I 
think you ought to be very grateful at getting 
rid of Guppy so pleasantly," he added. "He 
hardly spoke all the way home, and while I 
was getting ready for dinner he came into my 
room to say that he had been thinking the 
matter over and had come to the conclusion 
that some one ought to stay with Armington 
to divert his mind. As you and I couldn't— he 
would. I vow I didn't ask him to, or influence 
him in any way whatever; he worked the 
whole thing out himself, and he's exceedingly 
pleased at his responsibility." 

"Did you make any comment?" I asked. 

"Yes— I said that we would both appreciate 
his staying very, very much." 

By this time we had reached the station and 
in a few minutes more I was watching the hill 
of Avranches flatten out in the distance and 
taking a last look at the meandering little 
paths along the river that I have learned to 
know so well. 

In a direct line across the water it can't be 
more than six miles from Avranches to the 


Mont, but by rail it must be thirty. Until a 
few years ago the place at high tide was an 
island, rising lonely and mysterious from the 
turbid bay. To reach it you had to take a skiff 
or wait for the waters to recede. There was an 
element of romance in the quicksands and in 
the speed (that of a "galloping horse" the 
guide-book says; a horse with a spavin on every 
leg, Berri declared later) with which the tide 
rushed in. But now a causeway like a long 
narrow ribbon connects the place with the 
mainland, and, if you care to wait, a railway 
train will gather you up at Pontorson and de- 
posit you at the foot of Mont-Saint-Michel's 
impregnable fifteenth-century walls and tow- 
ers and bastions. We preferred not to wait 
and were soon bowling along the road in a 
luxurious, low-necked barouche. 

I have little of what Duggie calls "historical 
imagination." As a rule, it's very hard for me 
to reconstruct the past merely because I hap- 
pen to be in a locality that the guide-book 
says has a past. But at Mont-Saint-Michel you 
don't have to try. The place tells its own story, 


and although the monastery was used as a 
prison as recently as the Revolution, you 
can't help feeling that about five hundred 
years ago the story just stopped. While you are 
there (we went intending to spend the night 
and left with reluctance after four days) you 
simply have to live in the Middle Ages be- 
cause there isn't any place else to live. 

By the time we got out of the carriage and 
passed under the lofty stone gate into the vil- 
lage, the wind from the sea was biting cold. 
Monsieur Poulard met us at the door of the — 
I don't know just what to call that room as it 
is the inn office, salon and kitchen all in one. 
The light of a wood fire in a huge stone- 
hooded fireplace was dancing over the walls 
and the copper saucepans on a dresser oppo- 
site the door, and illuminating the figure of a 
heroic-looking woman who stood a little to 
one side of the chimney, skilfully agitating 
an omelette in a saucepan with a wooden han- 
dle at least five feet long. This, of course, was 
the great Madame Poulard. The omelette just 
then was at too critical a stage for her to no- 


tice us, but when it was finished and carried 
away on a platter by a servant, she turned to 
welcome us and say a few words to Berri (she 
remembered his mother and father very well) 
before proceeding with another. At the back 
of the chimney the heavy lids of three black 
caldrons swung on cranes rose and fell under 
their bubbling contents and wafted out 
prophecies that were strangely interesting 
after our drive in the fresh wind. And in front 
near the floor, spitted on two iron rods that 
stretched clear across, four legs of mutton and 
eighteen fat, brown, dripping chickens ma- 
jestically revolved before the gorgeous coals. 
It was like the ogre's dinner in a fairy tale. 

"What a magnificent fireplace !" Berri ex- 
claimed looking up at the gigantic hood. 

"It's magnificent," I agreed, "but it's brand 

"Modern, perhaps," Berri replied, "but 
brand— old," which struck me afterward as a 
nice distinction and characteristic of every- 
thing at Madame Poulard's. The inn swarms 
with tourists, who come for a meal— for an 


afternoon— for a night at the longest, in trains, 
in carriages, in automobiles, on bicycles and 
on foot. But strangely enough the throng 
doesn't seem to make the place less attractive. 

Madame Poulard, by ignoring the usual 
conventions of hotel-keeping, somehow seems 
to make that impossible. Everybody is appar- 
ently so pleased to be there at all that he for- 
gets to be disagreeable. It amuses one im- 
mensely, for instance, to learn that no record 
is kept of how long you stay, how many meals 
you've eaten, how many afternoon teas you've 
consumed, what wine you've had at dinner 
and whether you've taken coffee afterward— 
which in France is always "extra." You are 
expected to remember everything yourself 
and confess to Madame Poulard or her hus- 
band at the end. It's easy enough when you 
stay only for a few hours, but a visit of four 
days becomes complicated. Berri and I, when 
we found that we would have to make out our 
own bills, used to write everything down in a 
notebook as soon as we ordered it. 

Although you see your dinner cooked in the 


dim room down in the village and eat it in 
another room overhead hung with hundreds 
of sketches that visiting artists have presented 
to Madame Poulard, you sleep in the Maison 
Blanche, or the Maison Rouge, or the Maison 
Verte, away up on the rock near the abbey. 
Anywhere else you would probably object to 
bedrooms about the size of a billiard table — 
but here the little white cells merely seem 
monastic and in keeping. Besides, except 
when you're asleep you are rarely in your 
room. If you want to read or write or watch 
the tide creep in over the dappled waste of 
white sand, you sit just outside your door on 
a terrace gay with beds of asters, poppies, 
bachelor buttons, mignonette and roses, and 
covered, in part, by arbors of tangled honey- 
suckle, clematis and passion-flowers. You have 
your coffee and rolls there in the morning, 
and, in fact, are there most of the time when 
you aren't paddling about in your bare feet 
on the warm, wet sand, or leaning over the 
ramparts in the sun, or wandering through 
the Gothic labyrinth at the top of the rock. 


This last you are supposed to visit with the 
crowd that gathers every hour at the door; but 
after we had been rushed through once with- 
out seeing much of anything Berri "talked 
pretty" to the guide in charge and he after- 
ward let us go in and out as we pleased. He 
was an agreeable, good-looking chap who 
knew every stone in the place and resented the 
lack of intelligence in the average crowds he 
piloted about, as only a Frenchman who 
knows his subject can. 

In discussing the monastery, Berri said: 
"Why is it that, if we wanted to build three 
refectories to-day, they wouldn't look a bit 
like these when they were finished? — al- 
though I've no doubt they would be three per- 
fectly comfortable, more or less durable shel- 

"It's because," said the guide, running his 
fingers over an exquisite piece of molding in 
the cloister, "it's because, when we build 
nowadays, our idea is behind us, goading us 
on. The idea of the men who built all this 


soared ahead of them on wings and lifted 
them up to it." 

As there is nothing to do in the evening 
beyond watching the phosphorescent waves 
break gently against the rocks away below you, 
people go to bed at Mont-Saint-Michel earlier 
even than they did at Avranches. Every one 
lights a paper lantern in Madame Poulard's 
kitchen before ascending the five or six hun- 
dred tortuous steps to the bedrooms, and as 
these wind-blown flames flicker uncertainly 
along the face of the rock, you catch from 
your terrace strange, brief glimpses, through 
the blackness, of a bed of flowers— a crumbling 
wall— a shrine— a grave in the tiny cemetery 
overlooking the sea. 



After the quiet and sweetness, the poetry and 
religion of a place like that, it seemed at first 
almost wicked to find oneself at Dinard. Berri 
had told me that Dinard was fashionable, but 
I didn't realize that we were going to be mixed 
up the evening of our arrival with a Russian 
Grand Duke, a German "zu und von 
Schnupfenquelle-Engleburg," 2l French Vis- 
count, an English guardsman, Lady Claude 
Bushel (it isn't pronounced that way, but I 
haven't time to explain how it is pronounced), 
Mrs. de Tabley-Monteagle, and Miss Smith. 
(Miss Smith is not like other Smiths; she's 
one of those cottage-on-the-cliffs-at-Newport- 
Champs -Elysees-apartment-steam - yacht - in - 
the - Mediterranean - dahabeah - on - the -Nile - 
Smiths.) Of course, it all happened through 
Berri's mother. 

She was waiting for us on the quay when 
we got out of the crowded little ferryboat 


that brings you across the bay from Saint 
Malo, and I've never seen anything so young 
and pretty as she was— all in white, with a 
fluffy white parasol, waving to Berri from 
a little victoria. She might easily be his sis- 
ter. Their greeting simply paralyzed me. 
Mrs. Berrisford jumped out of the carriage 
and threw her arms about Berri's neck. 

''Oh, my darling," she exclaimed, "I'm so 
glad you've come— there isn't a good-looking 
man in the place. Don't scold me about my 
poor hair; it was only an experiment — every- 
body was doing it in Paris this spring— and I'm 
letting it go back. Don't you think it's horrid?" 

"Why, no— it isn't bad," Berri answered. 
He put his hands on her shoulders and smiled 
at her adoringly. "It was sort of brown last 
year, wasn't it? Oh, I forgot— this is Granny." 
Mrs. Berrisford hadn't noticed me in the 
crowd and, owing to the excitement of the 
moment, I had escaped Berri's mind. She 
seemed glad to see me, and in a moment we 
were all clattering up the hill through the 
summery looking town— Mrs. Berrisford and 


I on the back seat and Berri on the little one 
facing us. 

Well, at first I told myself with a pang that 
she didn't care for him at all; and I tried to 
picture mamma meeting me on a steamboat 
landing after a separation of ten months with 
the announcement that she had dyed her hair 
and was glad to see me because I was hand- 
some! But since then I've come to believe that 
she's devoted to Berri, but not perhaps in the 
way to which I've been accustomed. It's real, 
only it isn't the same. You're told all your life 
that you mustn't expect people to be alike, 
and then the first time you meet some one 
different you proceed to be astounded. 

"Are you going anywhere tonight?" Berri 
asked his mother as we were having tea in her 
salon. (She has a beautiful stone villa on one 
of the side streets that lead down to the 

" # Why, weeks ago," she began, "I promised 
the De Tabley-Monteagles that I would dine 
there to meet the Grand Duke." 

"Now if you're going to throw me over for 


that fatuous old eagle thing—," Berri inter- 

"Listen, my angel— Did you say three 
lumps, Mr. Wood? Because, if you did, I'll 
put in four— now, darling, listen. When you 
wrote me that you would be here today I 
went over at once and told the woman that I 
simply couldn't dine with her. Naturally she 
was very cross with me— I could tell from the 
way she kissed me on both cheeks and said 
she was glad to see anybody nowadays who 
was 'all mother.' So you see, we three can 
either dine quietly— which is always most de- 
pressing, don't you think?— or go to the Cafe 
de la Rotonde. Boldi's there again this year, 
you know— better than ever; only he has the 
annoying Hungarian habit of sneaking up be- 
hind one's chair and playing the most divine 
things to the back of one's neck. I'd tell him 
not to, but he's been so amiable lately about 
taking five-franc pieces when I've asked him 
to play things I like— he usually sniffs at any- 
thing but gold. He's been completely spoiled 
by people like the Smiths." 


We dined at the cafe — a long, narrow ter- 
race enclosed in glass on the edge of the beach. 
The casino is above it, and to the casino most 
of the De Tabley-Monteagle dinner-party ad- 
journed at about eleven o'clock for the pur- 
pose of trying their luck with the petits 
chevaux—a. gambling game where you bet on 
little tin horses that fly around in circles — and 

My introduction to smart society was full 
of surprises for me. Mrs. Berrisford had men- 
tioned the names of some people whom we 
should probably see during the evening, and 
I couldn't help forming opinions about them 
beforehand that in every case proved to be 
astonishingly wrong. 

The Grand Duke I had pictured as ex- 
tremely dashing in a semi-barbarous fashion; 
a sort of cross between the Emperor of Ger- 
many and a Cossack in a Wild West show. In 
reality, he is a genial old thing of sixty who — 
if he weren't a Grand Duke— might be a re- 
tired stockbroker. He held my hand and 
patted the back of it when I was presented to 


him, and told me what a bad child Berri used 
to be— explaining that Berri had once dug a 
large hole on the beach, covered it with news- 
papers and sand, and then lured him into it. 

Mrs. de Tabley-Monteagle, whom I had 
thought would be stout and pompous and 
dull, turned out to be one of those willowy 
Burne-Jones effects, who, everybody says, was 
a great beauty in her youth. She's almost six 
feet tall, but as she has a rhythmical manner 
of looping herself over the furniture you end 
by thinking her graceful. 

"Of course, Edwina de Tabley-Monteagle 
is faded," Berri's mother agreed, "but she has 
faded in the marvelous, intense, English way 
—quite like dried lavender and rose-leaves in 
a horribly expensive bit of cloisonne." 

The Schnupfenquelle-Engleburg man is a 
blond, pink-faced, grown-up-baby-looking 
creature in about the worst-fitting evening 
clothes I've ever seen. He seemed worried 
about his necktie, as well he might be; for it 
kept slipping up over his collar every few 
minutes and hanging about his neck like a 


silly little linen scarf of some kind. Berri says 
that in his uniform, at a distance that pre- 
cludes your discovering his brain to be a mere 
sausage, he isn't bad. 

The French Viscount is what we should 
call at home "fresh as paint." He thinks he's 
wonderfully English; but he's really just an 
ass; his monocle won't stay in, and I'm sure 
that, in spite of all his sporty chatter, he's 
dreadfully afraid of a horse. He hangs on 
every one of the guardsman's very occasional 
words. The guardsman, by the way, looks the 
part. He's perfectly beautiful and changes his 
clothes about five times a day. Lady Claude 
Bushel is what Berri calls "one of those lovely 
little creatures— all appealing blue eyes and 
feather boa." Nobody, he says, but the man 
who happens to be talking to her has ever 
really understood her. 

Although from time to time these people, 
and the others of the party, would burst into 
French, everybody spoke fluent English with 
the exception of Miss Smith, whose home is 
somewhere in Central Illinois. She went to a 


convent near Paris and has been over here for 
so long— almost a year and a half now — that 
her native tongue comes hard. 

"I like much the French people. Do not 
you?" she asked me as we were on our way 
back to the cafe— after Mrs. de Tabley- 
Monteagle and Lady Claude Bushel had lost 
on the petits chevaux not only their own 
money but what they had borrowed from the 
Grand Duke and the guardsman. Miss Smith 
is extraordinarily pretty; prettier even than 
Lady Claude. Berri says she's trying to decide 
whether it would be more brilliant to annex 
the Viscount or Schnupfenquelle-Engleburg. 
The guardsman's name is "Higgins"— which 
lets him out; and the Grand Duke is rich be- 
yond the dreams of even a morganatic mar- 

I can't get over the contrast between Dinard 
and the other places we have been to. It's like 
looking at a flippant water-color sketch after 
you've gone through a gallery of old masters. 
Dinard is such a dainty, garish, shallow little 
spot with a lot of flimsy villas perched about 



on the rocks above one of the coziest, most 
secluded beaches imaginable. It's very gay; 
Fve never been so gay before and never expect 
to be again. 

In the morning we go down to the beach 
for a swim, which is good enough fun in itself 
—but the crowd is even more entertaining; 
hundreds of beautifully dressed women sit- 
ting under striped red and white awnings and 
in the patches of shade cast by the bathing 
machines. They read or embroider or talk to 
the men who stroll about from group to 
group. I didn't know that there were so many 
lovely children in the world; the beach is in an 
uproar with them all day long; little Russians 
in round white linen caps, with big placid 
eyes far apart; Du Maurier children from 
England— the little boys very dictatorial and 
manly, the little girls very lank and bewilder- 
ingly curled; French children, whose clothes 
as a rule are too fussy, and who never by any 
chance (no matter how they wallow in the 
sand or paddle in the water) seem to become 


soiled; little Italians who look like velvet- 
eyed angels and who behave like imps; and 
American children whom you wouldn't know 
are Americans if you didn't see the Stars and 
Stripes fluttering from their forts of sand. All 
these infants seem perfectly at home in any 
one of the three or four languages that hap- 
pens for the moment to be shrieked. If you 
could see only their little bare legs you would 
think Dinard is chiefly inhabited by a race 
of diminutive Indians. 

Of course Berri has made friends with most 
of them and spends whole afternoons helping 
to build forts for the tide to wash flat. If it 
weren't for them I think he would be even 
more critical of Dinard than he is. To me it's 
all so new that I like it. People have asked us 
to luncheon and dinner every day since we've 
been here— at their villas, at the new club or 
at the cafe. We've been to a dance at the casino 
and are going to another— a smaller one— at 
the club. Then, too, Mrs. Berrisford seems to 
have a good many luncheons and dinners on 


her own account. In the afternoon we some- 
times drive over to the golf club and some- 
times we have tea at the cafe. 

"Oh, yes, it's very entrancing," Berri said 
one day when I asked him why he didn't 
seem to be having a better time. "I enjoy it 
myself for just about a week. But I'm con- 
vinced that any grown and able-bodied man 
who can endure it for longer ought to be 
taken out and shot. You must remember, 
Granny, that I've seen Mrs. de Tabley- 
Monteagle smoke cigarettes with that intri- 
cate Delsarte arm movement and be jeweled 
little finger with which she seeks to make 
smoking refined ever since I was four years 
old; and nowadays, when Lady Claude Bushel 
tells me that I'm the only living person who 
really understands her, I can recollect per- 
fectly in the bright hexagon of my precocious 
childhood sitting on the laps of other Lady 
Claudes and wondering what they meant 
when they said more or less the same thing to 
somebody else. I get awfully tired of meeting 


over and over again people that you never get 
to know any better— chiefly because there isn't 
anything more to know. And it makes me sick 
to be so much with people who take the trivial 
so seriously and who don't take the serious at 
all— or who pretend they don't even when 
they do. The thing Mrs. Onslow said to you is 
an example of what I mean." 

Mrs. Onslow is another pretty English 
woman— pale and ethereal, with a lot of bur- 
nished red-brown hair. She has a daughter 
nine years old of whom Berri is very fond. 
One afternoon I was having tea with 
Mrs. Onslow and another lady and Higgins 
at the cafe. All at once the people on the 
beach began to swarm across the sand and 
collect in a dense crowd near the edge of the 
water. For a moment I forgot myself suf- 
ficiently to express interest and asked a waiter 
what had happened. He didn't know, but said 
there had probably been an accident in the 
water and placed the field glasses he had been 
looking through on our table. Mrs. Onslow 


languidly lifted them to her eyes, swept the 
horizon, and then, turning her back on the 
scene, suppressed a yawn and said: 

"I dare say it's my infant." 

Now, of course, before making this remark 
she had been very careful to ascertain that her 
infant at that moment was busily engaged 
some twenty feet away in pouring shovelfuls 
of sand on Berri's best white flannel suit. Just 
why she said the thing at all I'm sure I don't 
know, unless, as Berri declares, it's very swag- 
ger to pretend that you don't care about 
things when you really do. 

"The burning question of the hour," Berri 
concluded, "the thing that has given conver- 
sation a new lease of life and bids fair to make 
the season brilliant in the local annals, is 
whether that preposterous little Smith girl is 
going to purchase the German or the French- 
man. Now in all sincerity I don't care. And 
when you've reached that stage, it means 
you've had enough." 

It wasn't a bit like Berri to talk in this 
strain; he's just the kind of person that, I 


should think, would enjoy a place like Dinard 
and get no end of amusement out of it. For a 
while I wondered why he didn't look at it 
more simply and take things, in his usual 
way, as they come. He puzzled me. Then 
gradually the difference of our points of view 
dawned on me and I ended by feeling, some- 
how, very sorry for Berri. To me, of course, 
being here is merely a novel and delightful 
incident in a summer vacation; but to Berri 
it means "home." Home with him is wher- 
ever his mother happens to be amusing her- 
self and the fact depresses him. 

He cheered up the other day, however. We 
received two telegrams from Avranches that 
had been repeated from our banker's in Paris: 

Where are you? Can't stand Guppy any longer. 
The man is driving me mad. Armington. 

Armington escaped this morning. Has behaved 
in a strange manner for several days. Fear for 
the worst. What shall I do? Guppy. 



Although Armington fled from Guppy and 
Avranches it was easy enough for us to com- 
municate with him as he had given us the 
address of his apartment in Paris. His bonne 
forwarded our telegram to him and in a few 
days he joined us at Dinard. To Guppy, Berri 
telegraphed: "Do not worry. Armington is 
with friends," and got in answer a long letter 
expressing Guppy's relief that matters had 
turned out so harmlessly. The date of Gup- 
py's sailing wasn't very distant, and he had 
feared that he might have to postpone his 
return in order to ransack France for the miss- 
ing archaeologist. 

One day while we were sitting in the sand 
watching the poor, silly old policeman who 
spends his life in trying to keep dogs off the 
beach (whenever he limps after one a swarm 
of screaming children rush at him and hold 
him back), Armington said that his vacation 


was about over and he would have to go to 
Paris. Then he asked me if I was going there, 
and said that when I did I must stay with him 
instead of at a hotel. This sounded attractive 
and made it easier for me to leave Dinard as 
soon as I did— which was sooner than I had 
expected to. Berri, of course, had asked me to 
stay on with them until I had to meet the 
family. But I began to think that perhaps he 
and his mother would like to be alone to- 
gether, and now I'm exceedingly glad I didn't 
wait. For very soon after I announced my 
intention of joining Armington, Mrs. Berris- 
ford — to Bern's great delight— suddenly de- 
termined to close her house at Dinard and 
take a trip with him in an automobile. Berri's 
joy at the prospect of getting rid of the Grand 
Dukes and Lady Claudes and having his 
mother to himself was sort of pathetic. 

Well, I said good-by to them one morning 
and arrived in Paris that evening— with only 
one mishap on the way. At about six o'clock 
I began to feel famished, and when the train 
stopped for four minutes at a large station I 


bought at the buffet a sandwich and a small 
bottle of white wine. The sandwich— it was 
made of a tough roll and a slab of greasy ham 

reminded me of the things the cowboys 

out West used to call "hunting-case sand- 
wiches with buckskin hinges." The wine was 
sour and thin. After I had cruelly murdered a 
young and innocent appetite with these 
things, the conductor appeared at the win- 
dow to inform me that dinner was being 
served in the dining car. Barring this tragedy, 
however, the trip was uneventful. 

Arriving in Paris, I confess was a disap- 
pointment to me. It wouldn't have been if I 
had got in at another station; the Gare Mont- 
parnasse isn't in the most brilliant part of 
town and my cab-driver took short cuts to 
Armington's place through narrow, murky 
back streets, over cobblestones that almost un- 
toothed me. What I expected I don't know; I 
think I must have had a hazy idea that the 
Parisian populace spend their evenings danc- 
ing ballets up and down broad thoroughfares 
strewn with roses and lighted with red fire. 


Armington's apartment is in the heart of the 
Latin quarter. Just before we reached it the 
cab passed between two enormous cafes, 
ablaze with light, gay with music and with 
crowds of people seated at the little tin-topped 
tables on the sidewalk; but at the other end 
of the street where the cab stopped everything 
was dim and quiet. 

It was not quite ten o'clock, but the massive 
double doors of the house were shut and the 
windows— five stories up— were absolutely 
dark. I dragged my trunk across the sidewalk, 
rang the bell and nothing happened. There 
was no response to my second and more vio- 
lent effort and I turned toward the street, 
wondering what I had better do. The music 
floating up from the brilliant cafes at the 
lower end made my neighborhood seem all 
the more gloomy and silent. Just beyond 
Armington's house, across a vast deserted 
square, a huge building with a dome loomed 
through the night and I thought it might be 
the Opera, as I remembered that in photo- 
graphs the Opera looked as if it were at the 


end of a broad street. (This seems ridiculous 
now, as the building was the Pantheon.) 

I decided to ring once more and then, if no 
one came to let me in, I told myself that I 
should take one of the cabs near the cafes and 
drive to a hotel. But although no one did 
come when I rang again I didn't go away, for 
the door suddenly gave a metallic click and 
swung open by itself. This, however, was en- 
couraging only for a moment; when I pulled 
my trunk inside I found the place impene- 
trably dark and I couldn't imagine what to 
do next. I coughed suggestively; I knocked on 
the inside of the door; I shuffled my feet and I 
groped through the dark trying to find some- 
thing else to knock on. But the walls were of 
stone and merely hurt my knuckles without 
giving out any sound. It wasn't until I fell 
over my trunk on the way back to the door 
that I really got my effect. I had stood the 
trunk on end and the crash as we came down 
together was followed first by a woman's 
shriek and then by torrents of excited French. 
I could hear a frenzied groping for matches, 


and at last an old man holding a candle aloft 
peered warily into the darkness from a door- 
way. He had on a night-cap— an article of 
apparel whose actual existence I had always 

"Good-evening. Is Mr. Armington at 
home?" I asked in my best French. 

"At this hour?" the woman's voice within 
wildly exclaimed— leaving me in doubt as to 
whether for Armington the hour was impos- 
sibly late or impossibly early. The old man 
evidently didn't care to do anything on his 
own responsibility, so I was obliged to wait 
until he had received lengthy instructions 
from the rear. 

"Mr. Armington isn't at home," he de- 
clared severely. "He isn't in Paris— he left this 
morning for Greece." 

"But I brought my baggages," I replied. (I 
used a plural as I couldn't for the moment 
remember whether trunk is masculine or fem- 
inine.) "I brought my baggages and I had the 
intention to stay several days" — at which an- 
nouncement the old man's manner underwent 

1 9 1 


an indescribable change. He became all 
smiles, and behind him I could hear Ma- 
dame's long-drawn-out exclamation of en- 

"Ah— c 'est le nouveau!" And I knew then 
that Armington had left instructions about 
me. After that everything was easy. The old 
man lighted gas jets on the stairway and 
helped me carry my trunk up to Armington's 
apartment — on the fourth floor, which in 
France means the fifth. Here he gave me a 
note from my absent host, who said that a 
recent excavation somewhere in the interior 
of Greece promised to throw much light on 
the subject of "skewpins" and that, sorry as 
he was to miss my visit, the interests of learn- 
ing demanded his presence elsewhere. He 
added that Elise, the bonne, came in the 
morning and would give me what I wanted to 
eat at whatever hours I found most conve- 
nient. So here I was — who had never been in 
Paris before— keeping house in the Latin 
Quarter on the first evening of my arrival. 

It's hard enough sometimes to get into 


these French apartment houses after the 
concierge has locked the door for the night 
and gone to bed; but it's infinitely harder— 
unless you know the trick— to get out. I ex- 
plored Armington's abode— he has two bed- 
rooms and a dining-room, the prettiest little 
salon I've ever seen, and a microscopic kitchen 
with a charcoal stove in it that looks like a 
cross between a sewing-machine and a wash- 
stand — and then, as it was early and I didn't 
feel sleepy, I thought it would be interesting 
to take a walk. With the aid of many matches 
I found my way down the five flights of slip- 
pery, uncarpeted stairs to the stone vestibule 
and tried to open the door I had besieged half 
an hour before from the other side. But none 
of the heavy iron bolts and latches would 
budge. There was no bell, and as I didn't care 
to arouse the old man again after all the trou- 
ble I had given him, I finally climbed upstairs 
— feeling like a prisoner in the Bastile — and 
went to bed. 

The next morning I inquired into the mat- 
ter. When you wish to enter at night you pull 



at the bell, wake the concierge, and then, as 
you pass his door, call out your name to show 
you aren't a burglar. When a visitor is leav- 
ing, or you would like to go out "after hours" 
yourself— just as I did— you stand in the vesti- 
bule and demand in a loud voice, "Le cordon, 
s'il vous plait" until the concierge hears you 
in his sleep and reaches for the rope that opens 
the door. The slumbers of a Parisian concierge 
must be fragmentary, for in a big house like 
this one people come and go at all hours of 
the night. I wouldn't say it to Berri for any- 
thing—he would think it was my American 
passion for mechanical contrivances— but I 
don't see why in a place like Paris they haven't 
evolved some less primitive method. The sys- 
tem isn't peculiar to this old-fashioned quar- 
ter either. One's entrances and exits are man- 
aged in the same way even in the fine houses 
near the Champs-Elysees across the river. 

Still, although every now and then I am 

amused by something absurdly unprogressive 

over here, I can't help feeling since I've been 

at Armington's that in America most of us are 



an improvident, careless lot and that we could 
learn plenty of things from French people 
about living much better than we do on less 
money than we spend. It seems as if eating 
had been reduced in this country to one of the 
exact sciences. When Elise asked me the next 
day if I should be at home for luncheon and 
dinner and what I would have, I told her I 
wanted to live just as Armington did; and 
Armington, I soon found out, lives very well 
indeed. Yet, judged by our standards, his ex- 
penses are ridiculously small. 

Elise knows how to manage; she never buys 
an ounce more than is needed for a single meal 
and nothing is wasted. How she so neatly 
gauges one's capacity is a Gallic secret that 
I've stopped trying to guess— just as I no 
longer worry over how she can cook so deli- 
ciously on her absurd stove. It is enough to 
know that by turning a crank attached to a 
tin box not unlike a hand organ she roasts 
chickens and ducks as I never before knew 
they could be roasted. 

Of course the ease with which one lives well 



here depends largely on the convenience of 
the neighborhood. Three doors below us is a 
little shop in which they sell pretty much 
everything in the world to eat and drink, from 
a pinch of salt to a bottle of champagne. The 
very few edibles it does not contain can be 
found next door. However, my friends around 
the corner tell me that almost all Parisian 
neighborhoods are equally convenient. 

My friends around the corner I met the 
morning after I arrived. I don't mind confess- 
ing that the first evening was rather gloomy. 
After you've been with people night and day 
for weeks and then find yourself alone in a 
place the size of Paris— to say nothing of find- 
ing yourself in a strange room into which two 
other strange rooms open darkly— you don't 
feel precisely gay. I wondered while I was go- 
ing to bed if I hadn't been unwise to stay 
after I learned of Armington's absence. 

But in the morning, when Elise gave me 

my breakfast on a tray in the salon and I sat 

in the sun near an open window looking across 

at the roof of the Boston Public Library (they 



call it the Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve 
here; but, except that this one is old and 
mellow-looking, you scarcely could tell the 
difference), I was glad I hadn't gone to a 
hotel. After breakfast I was particularly glad, 
for when I was starting off to the bank to see 
if there was a letter from mamma, who should 
I meet, strolling along with a worried, inquir- 
ing expression, but Phil Blackwood. He isn't 
in my class, but in Cambridge I knew him 
slightly, and meeting him unexpectedly here 
made me feel as if I knew him well. He 
greeted me in the offhand, matter-of-fact way 
that would be natural to some people if they 
were to meet their most intimate friend in the 
depths of an African jungle, and exclaimed: 
"Say, do you know where the Rue des Gam- 
bades is? I have a brother over here who's 
studying art or some darned thing and I 
promised the family to look him up and find 
out how he's getting along. You haven't any- 
thing to do— come help me find 16 Rue des 
Gambades. Can you speak this beastly lan- 



When I'm with Berri I never think I know 
any French at all. Blackwood's society, how- 
ever, gives me perfect courage and a feeling 
of great proficiency. We found the street, not 
far from the Luxembourg Gardens (which 
Phil's brother afterward told us was the most 
perfect bit of formal gardening in the world, 
and seemed to think us both rather hopeless 
because we hadn't found this out for our- 
selves). The elder Blackwood himself we dis- 
covered in his studio. The studio was really 
very splendid— a high, enormous room with 
one side almost entirely built of glass over- 
looking a garden. It was furnished chiefly 
with monarchless thrones, antique choir- 
stalls, carved Normandy chests, gorgeous 
strips of old damask and velvet, and soft, thick 
Oriental rugs. 

"Hello, old man," said the owner of all 
this, who was painting at a gigantic easel that 
looked like a guillotine. He gave his picture 
one or two careful touches with a brush before 
he came forward to shake hands with us. 

"Hello, John," said his brother. "I was 


passing through on my way home and thought 
I'd drop in. Mother seemed to be afraid you 
weren't comfortable." 

"Do you think I am?" asked John, waving 
toward his possessions. 

"Well, I'll tell her that you're living in a 
ballroom that resembles a church less only 
because it looks like a harem more, and let 
her draw her own conclusions. What's that 
smeared green thing on the easel over there?" 

"That— from the point of view of drawing," 
said John, "is the best thing I've done." 

"Is it? I guess I shan't look at the others 
then," replied Phil. His brother didn't seem 
to mind this in the least, and returned to his 
easel, where he began to paint again, saying: 
"You two amuse yourselves for about ten 
minutes; then we can make plans for the 

Since I've been here I've seen a great deal 
of John and like him very much— although I 
realize what his brother Phil means when he 
says of him: "John's such a darned good fel- 
low, you entirely forget between times that 


he's such an ass." He shares his studio with 
another young American — a writer — who has 
written copiously, but who hasn't as yet had 
anything accepted. This doesn't seem to 
worry him, though; he told me he knew he 
would make a glittering success some day, 
and then, as one of the Normandy chests was 
almost full of rejected manuscripts, he could 
just rest for years and years. 

As far as I can make out John is an artist 
in every respect but the ability to paint. He 
has the most elaborate studio I've seen (we've 
been to three or four), he's chummy appar- 
ently with innumerable painters and sculp- 
tors and writers, he wears strange, loose gar- 
ments (he does, that is to say, on this side of 
the river), and, as he himself exclaims from 
time to time, he "lives the life." Part of the 
life he has been kind enough to show me, 
and it is easy enough to understand not only 
its fascination, but even how a person like 
Blackwood, who really does nothing but spoil 
nice, clean, expensive canvases with layers of 
green paint, can keep on living it. 


He and the writer friend and I have 
lunched together at a restaurant that is much 
frequented by noted artists and I've spent 
several lively evenings with them at the Clo- 
serie des Lilas — a cafe on the celebrated 
Boulevard Saint Michel. These were queer, 
noisy, interesting gatherings, made up of the 
most unlikely types from about a dozen dif- 
ferent nations; the sort of men who never in 
the world could come together except under 
that truce which is called Art. 

It seems that many of these chaps have 
talent, and some of them are said to have 
genius; all of which made me wonder at first 
just what they thought of John. But I've 
come to realize that John in a certain rather 
charming way is thoroughly accepted as one 
of them. He isn't accepted for his achieve- 
ments, for his achievements, as yet, consist 
principally of a pointed beard and a pair of 
baggy corduroy trousers; he's accepted for his 
intentions. His intentions, after all, are as 
sincere as those of any one. On this side of the 
river you can't help feeling that a great num- 



ber of people are trying to "say something"; 
they're trying to say it with brushes and 
chisels and pens. The fact exhilarates you 
somehow; if I stayed here long enough I 
think I could say something myself. Well — 
that's what's the matter with John Black- 
wood. Although inarticulate, the conviction 
admits him to the company of the sane. For 
in this part of Paris it isn't the painter and 
the sculptor and the writer who are con- 
sidered crazy — it's the person who can be con- 
tented with a calling less exalted. My private 
opinion is that John will never say anything 
if he stays here for fifty years; yet this doesn't 
seem to make any difference to the others. 
His position, no doubt, is something like that 
of a fellow in college who has every desire to 
get his degree, but who simply can't. 

Once I heard of a man who went around 
the world and kept a diary. He wrote careful 
descriptions of everything he saw and didn't 
think them altogether bad; but all the time 
he was sort of saving his vocabulary for Agra, 
in India. The chapter on Agra, he thought, 


would be his masterpiece. At the end of his 
first day in that place he got out his diary and 
wrote at the top of a page: "This afternoon 
I went to see the Taj Mahal/' The next eve- 
ning he again "took his pen in hand" and 
after a busy two hours he found he had 
written: "I went to see the Taj Mahal this 
afternoon." He stayed for two weeks at Agra, 
and now when he reads his diary at home 
sometimes he always likes to turn to the four- 
teen entries on Agra. He thinks they're the 
best thing in the book, because they all say: 
"This afternoon I went to see the Taj 
Mahal." I feel something the same way about 

After you've once recorded the fact that 
you are in Paris, anything else is in the na- 
ture of an anti-climax. It takes such a short 
time to get into the way of thinking that if 
there have to be cities in the world, Paris, in 
most respects, is more the city of your dreams 
than any other you know. It's such a sur- 
prise—such a revelation to find out in the 
first place that a city isn't necessarily hideous. 


There are miles and miles of Paris that are 
deliberately, wilfully, irretrievably beautiful. 
And then there are other miles that are 
beautiful not so much by design as by time 
and accident. If I shut my eyes and try to 
think of most cities I have a memory of high, 
ugly buildings, noise, confusion and dirt. But 
when I vizualize Paris I see vast, open spaces, 
architectural order, cream-colored stonework, 
statues, fountains and trees. 

It's a city that gratifies every taste and 
adapts itself to every purse; and I've come to 
the conclusion that the best it has to offer— 
the things you end by caring most for— are 
free. Some days I don't go out of "our own 
Quarter," as Blackwood calls it, but merely 
stroll up and down the Boulevard Saint 
Michel and through the Luxembourg Gar- 
dens, looking at the crowds, or walk on the 
Quai Voltaire where there is half a mile of 
secondhand books spread along the stone 
parapet overlooking the Seine. One of the 
booksellers is a relic of the eighteenth cen- 
tury; he wears his white hair in a queue, tied 


with a little black satin bow. Across the river 
you can see the Louvre with the Gardens of 
the Tuileries in front— and beyond, the great 
gilded horses on the Alexander III bridge. In 
the opposite direction the towers of Notre 
Dame lift gray and square into the blue sky. 
According to Blackwood, the side of the 
Seine that we are on is Paris. The other side, 
he says, belongs to all the world. Just what 
he means by this you very soon appreciate. 
For over here, except when you come across 
a wagon-load of tourists on their way to the 
Pantheon, or happen to walk behind some 
foreign students, you don't often hear any- 
thing but French. Across the water, however, 
in the neighborhood of the big hotels and the 
Opera and the famous dressmakers, jewelers 
and restaurants, French, somehow, doesn't 
seem to be more the native language than any 
other. The streets are thronged with people 
from every country of the globe, and in the 
short time I've been here I've seen in the 
passing crowd Chinese diplomats in gorgeous 
silks, haughty Algerian chiefs in snow-white 


draperies and crimson scarfs, sallow gentle- 
men from India with jewels sparkling in 
their architectural turbans and Englishmen 
in garments whose propriety would never be 
questioned on a very high mountain in an 
out-of-the-way place. There is always some- 
thing to see in Paris and always a comfortable 
chair on the sidewalk from which to see it. 

Mamma is always lamenting my dislike of 
going to bed, so I took much pleasure in 
writing to her the other day that in Paris 
people possessed with a desire just to sit up 
when they ought to be asleep are a recognized 
class and are called noctambules. I found this 
out from an advertisement in a window on 
Montmartre. A philanthropic person who 
was— as he remarked in his notice— a noc- 
tambule himself, had the honor of announc- 
ing that he had decided to open a cafe-con- 
cert "for the benefit of those enlightened few 
who consider sleep a waste of time." The 
performance was to begin at midnight and 
continue until seven in the morning. 

It is to this letter of mine that I attribute 


the sudden change in the family plans. 
Mamma had not responded with enthusi- 
asm exactly to the one in which I informed 
her that I was keeping house in the Latin 
Quarter; but I'm sure it was my implied 
sympathy with the noctambules that caused 
her to give up an excursion to Scotland and 
decide to come to France instead. Well, I'll 
be very glad to see them. Of course I'll have 
to stop being a tramp and eating wherever I 
happen to be when I feel hungry, and all 
that; but I've no doubt that Paris, in a dif- 
ferent way, will prove as interesting as it is 
when I am thrown on my own resources. We 
shall spend, I imagine, a great many morn- 
ings at the Louvre; we'll go to Fontainebleau 
and Versailles, and in the evening I can 
see myself in a fauteuil d'orchestre at the 
Theatre Francais— listening to something in 
five acts by Racine and wondering what on 
earth it's all about. Mamma, who, like so 
many refined and gentle people, takes the 
most surprising interest in the historically 
gruesome, will weep at the Conciergerie and 


wade through ensanguined rivers in the 
Place de la Concorde. Papa will insist on our 
going up the Eiffel Tower, and when we 
reach the top he will remark to mamma— as 
if it had just occurred to him— "I suppose 
you know this thing was guaranteed for five 
years only. It's been standing for ten or 
eleven now and isn't considered safe." Mil- 
dred will sneak off to Paquin's and order so 
many "perfectly simple little gowns" as she 
calls them, that by the time we get back to 
London papa will have found her out and 
decided that I can have only the clothes I 
actually need, which is always, of course, 
most depressing. 

I miss Berri ever so much; but I'm glad 
he's with his mother and having such a good 
time. He sends me a "souvenir" post-card 
now and then, scribbled with characteristic 
items of news such as: "Mr. Berrisford is tak- 
ing a trip in his fast automobile. The popula- 
tion of France is said to be decreasing," and 
so on. I shan't see him again until we sail. In 
his last communication he most unexpectedly 


told me the thing he refused to tell me at 
Avranches— which was the manner in which 
my diary differed from any other "European 
notes," he had ever read. On every card I've 
had from him he has written, "I think 111 
tell you in my next," or "The hour has 
come," and I had almost given up hope. Just 
as I was laughing over the card that really did 
tell me, Elise brought in a short but gratify- 
ing telegram from Armington. 

Berri's message was: 

"Up to August fourth your diary did not 
contain the word 'picturesque.' Can you say 
as much now? Am awaiting answer in agonies 
of apprehension." 

Armington 's telegram merely said: "Safety- 



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